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Pressure on BWA

Randy Bennett

Pressure on BWA

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Tired and frustrated after years of poor water service, residents of St Joseph are simply fed up.
Their annoyance was evident during a Barbados Water Authority (BWA) town hall meeting at the Grantley Adams Memorial School at Blackmans on Thursday night, where they turned out to vent their anger and disappointment.
And although BWA general manager Dr John Mwansa, manager of engineering Charles Marville and Lawrence Cumberbatch, project manager of the Inter-American Development Bank Project Execution Unit, tried their best to convince them plans were in place to improve the situation, residents were adamant they needed a fast solution.
One of the major concerns of the night stemmed from the closure of Andrews Sugar Factory.
The residents, who were also supported by several people from outside the parish, argued that after years of being told their water problems were due to the use of the nearby sugar factory, but now that the factory was not in operation they had still not seen any improvement in their water flow.
But in his response, Mwansa said that at no time did the BWA issue a statement saying Andrews was responsible for their water woes.
“I am not aware of any official communication from the BWA that attributed the problems residents of St Joseph experienced were due to Andrews Sugar factory. I am well sure there is no official statement from the BWA which claims that,” Mwansa said.
The first person to take to the floor, John Griffith, a resident of Braggs Hill, complained the water outages which they were experiencing dated back to 1995.
“I want to know why the BWA let this problem get so far. This has been over 19 years that we had these problems and it doesn’t seem like they are getting fixed,” he said to resounding support from the rest of the audience.
Laurna Knight, who resides in Airy Hill, had a serious issue concerning the BWA’s water tankers.
She contended the water tankers sped through the communities, giving them very little chance of collecting water.
“When your water tankers are coming out, they drive at 40 to 50 miles an hour . . . and they have no manners.
“There is a word named customer service, but they don’t seem to know about that word,” Knight said.
One resident who chose not to give his name, charged that while the “more popular” parishes such as Christ Church, St Michael and St James “lived lavishly,” the people of St Joseph continued to suffer regular outages.
“The water hardly goes off in those parishes, but when it comes to St Joseph, the water goes off daily. And when the water bills come out, we are paying just as much and sometimes even more than those people who are getting water 24 hours a day,” he pointed out.
Another man also reported that in the month of April, there were 18 days in which he was forced to go without water due to outages.
Carl Clarke, who has spent his entire life in Braggs Hill, claimed the Castle Grant reservoir was leaking and advised engineers to take a look.
“Behind the reservoir is green, green, green, although outside is really dry and no rain ain’t falling. Take a look and you would see that it is leaking,” he contended.
Greaves Hill resident Debra Headley, along with highlighting the fact the pipes which the BWA used were constantly bursting, also lamented about not having received a water bill for the month of April.
There were also several complaints from residents that around Easter and Crop Over every year they were forced to go several days without water.