It’s safe

Govt rejects results of US water test

Government has all but dismissed the results of tests by the United States “at several US Embassy residences” which found “bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean and Minister of Health John Boyce issued a joint statement today after meeting with US officials here, declaring that the island’s drinking water supply was safe.

“Barbados’ potable water is safe and meets the standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water guidelines,” the statement said.

The US embassy here issued a health alert late yesterday afternoon indicating that it had conducted tests recently on the tap water and had found “elevated levels” of bacteria.

“Recent tests at several US Embassy residences revealed bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water. As a precautionary measure, the US Embassy recommended to its staff to boil their drinking water or use bottled water,” the embassy said in a statement posted on its website, without specifying the locations of the residences where the tests were conducted.

From left, BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Health John Boyce and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best during today’s press conference.

The embassy said it would continue to monitor the situation and provide updates accordingly. However, it advised its staff to follow the US Centers for Disease Control directions on how to stay healthy and safe, which include guidance on safe drinking and eating.

The alert appeared to have taken the authorities here by surprise, with Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best telling a news conference this afternoon that the results of the tests by the Americans were only shared with local health officials today.

With the alert threatening to cast a pall over the island’s tourism industry, which had already been rocked by travel advisories by the US, Canada and the United Kingdom over the ongoing sewage crisis on the south coast, a Government delegation led by McClean and Boyce met today with US Ambassador Linda Taglialatera to express the administration’s concern.

At that meeting, also attended by Best, General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday and health and tourism officials, the Americans revealed that tests were done at five of the 68 staff residences, four of which were in Enterprise, Graeme Hall, Atlantic Shores and Palisades in Christ Church.

Halliday told a news conference this afternoon at McClean’s Culloden Road, St Michael office that those properties were not linked to the south coast sewerage network, nor were they being supplied with water from the same source as the sewage affected areas in Hastings and Worthing.

In any event, Dr Best said the embassy officials admitted that the laboratory tests showed an absence of salmonella, coliform and E.Coli, the bacteria, which would be of major concern to public health officials here. He also cast doubt on the methodology used to conduct the tests.

“We were not given any information about the lab that was used in the testing. We were also not told about the processes that were involved and the methodology of the testing,” he told the press conference.

Nevertheless, he indicated that the elevated bacterial level was of concern, even though he charged there were no specifics, “and from our vantage point, it is not very analytical because when you get a result like that there are a lot more tests that have to be done to determine the source and determine the significance of finding bacteria in water”.

McClean, who also addressed the media at the news conference, said she had sought permission from the US for Barbados to conduct its own tests at the properties concerned, and that “in case of future tests, we have asked that there be simultaneous collection of samples”.

She said the embassy had agreed to collaborate with the Ministry of Health and the BWA in this regard.

The minister also said Barbados’ diplomatic missions, as well as tourism officials, would be deployed to undertake damage control.

Meanwhile, in updating the media on the sewage overflows on the south coast, Halliday said despite sporadic setbacks, the water company’s mitigating measures were working.

“Whenever you have sewage on the ground or seeping out, it is not an easy fix. There is a process you have to follow . . . simply because no matter what you do you are having sewage coming at you constantly. So you always have to find ways in which to manage it while affecting the repairs,” Halliday said.

“So our situation is far from unique . . . and perhaps we have not done ourselves a service by indicating to all and sundry that this is one of many such issues across the globe.”

The BWA boss added that between $10 million and $20 million was needed to return the sewage system to normality.


emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

14 Responses to It’s safe

  1. Mack January 26, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    If these people fix the sewage problem all the other problems will go away.

    They are trying to convince people that all this raw sewage running all over the place and everything is just OK.

    Please credit the people of Barbados with some kind of common sense.!!!

    Reply
  2. luther thorne January 26, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Barbados does not trust the Government spokes people on any issue.
    Barbados has lost confidence in the Government on every issue.
    Call the Elections
    It is against the wishes of the people to take the elections down to JUNE

    Reply
  3. John Everatt January 27, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Mr. Halliday of the BWA states “the water company’s mitigating measures were working”. Well it seems that he has not visited Hastings and Worthing in the last few days as the sewage is exploding out of the manholes like a fountain and the stink is overwhelming. The minister talks about undertaking “damage control” by tourism officials. Really the damage control was needed 2 years ago to fix the problem.

    Again the real problem has been lack of maintenance and lack of action. I stopped believing anything these ministers and officials say as they have proven to be dishonest and deceitful over and over again.

    Reply
  4. T. January 27, 2018 at 5:10 am

    “Many such issues across the globe”…

    Reply
  5. Tony Webster January 27, 2018 at 6:29 am

    After learning of the embassy’s alert, I thought about
    boiling my water. After witnessing this big-brain “assurance”…I decide: I boiling my water since yesterday, since confidence in this administration…at ALL levels…has been flushed.

    I also shopping at a different supermarket. Sorry, Big B.

    Reply
  6. Cecil Brooks January 27, 2018 at 6:32 am

    ” We were not given any information about the lab that was used in the testing, we were also not told about the processes that were involved and the methodology of the testing”. Can I ask the authority (BWA/Ministry of health) have you ever given the Barbadian public the assurance of the very thing you accused the USA of. Like what labs the Bdos government uses, any accredited independent testing institution, and let them tell us the public what methods are used.

    Reply
    • Anton Best (Ministry of Health) January 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

      We stated in the press conference that we test water samples at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory and previously the Public Health Lab. These labs are not accredited but the testing processes are pass external proficiency tests ensuring the quality of their results.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. mike January 27, 2018 at 6:47 am

    “Halliday told a news conference this afternoon at McClean’s Culloden Road, St Michael office that those properties were not linked to the south coast sewerage network, nor were they being supplied with water from the same source as the sewage affected areas in Hastings and Worthing.” That makes it even more scary Mr. Halliday, because the problem is now more widespread than we thought.

    “In any event, Dr Best said the embassy officials admitted that the laboratory tests showed an absence of salmonella, coliform and E.Coli, the bacteria, which would be of major concern to public health officials here. He also cast doubt on the methodology used to conduct the tests.” What and idiotic comment, those are not the only infected bacteria in existence. Are these comments intended to make us fee safer?

    Reply
  8. jrsmith January 27, 2018 at 7:11 am

    What a ******g mess , I hope all of our crooked , untrustworthy politicians have realize what they have done to Barbados destroying the country….. In a decent run country lots of people would have to resign , why cant our whole government just pack what crap they in they offices go and catch planes to live in some place else………………………………….
    *************************************************
    You bajan people is just not listening , stop the stupidness we need to be able to use the same votes which put these people in power ,to have the automatic right to remove them, if they are failures as like this lot in government……………..
    Why bajan people seems to love the suffering, the politicians impose on our people and the stupidness of thinking we will get them out at the next general election,………………………………
    What will happen if the present government is return to office , bajans will wait another 5 years to try and remove them , craziness , by then we all would be drowned in ***t …………

    Reply
  9. Buun January 27, 2018 at 8:44 am

    The Jobby job of the DLP.

    Reply
  10. Mack January 27, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Maxine! I think you and Frundel need to get a delegation together and go and ask the Queen to RE- COLANISE us.

    After 51 years of Independence and free higher education, we are still in a state of not being able to manage our affairs.

    Like a child who can’t make it on their own. I think we need to rejoin the mother country.

    Reply
    • Jennifer January 27, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      Funny. Truth be told blacks would be no worst or better off if recolonizing happened. Same Systemic LOCK DOWN, Just like in the USA, Canada, GB, EU or wherever these people reside.

      Reply
  11. Lee R January 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I’m at the stage where I trust nothing coming from the mouth of any gov’t minister or gov’t official. Bottle water for me.

    Reply
  12. luther thorne January 27, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    The situation with this incompetent DLP Government is nothing to rejoice about.

    It is a poor reflection on Barbados. These Government Ministers and DLP political appointees are all Barbadians so the lack of competence cannot be a DLP thing only. It has to be a Barbadian thing.

    Are there persons within the BLP who are more competent ? Or does the BLP draw from the same Barbadian pool of competencies ?

    Barbados overall is failing. The hard working productive Barbadian seem to have been replaced by the certificate (degree toting) individuals (mostly females) who claim the piece of paper as a pathway to progress and easy lack of productivity existence.

    Too many complaints of poor service and ill treatment of the public are being experienced by too many persons. Sanka Price dealt with the matter this past week on Brasstacks.

    So we have a serious productivity problem in Barbados.
    The Government not producing
    The workers not producing
    Whither Barbados.
    Most just looking out for money and Men are being mariginalized(next topic)

    Reply

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