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Counselling for besieged BWA employees

GERCINE CARTER, [email protected]

Counselling for besieged BWA employees

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THE BARBADOS WATER AUTHORITY is concerned about the emotional toll the south coast sewerage problems may be taking on some of its employees.

This was indicated by general manager Keithroy Halliday who said yesterday assistance was being sought to to provide professional counsellors for any workers who may be suffering the pressure of working around the clock since last year to try to correct issues related to the troublesome South Coast sewerage system, amidst the continuing public outcry and criticism.

While he apologised to members of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) for the headaches and inconvenience they were suffering as a result of the sewerage difficulties, Halliday suggested some of his employees were also enduring personal distress while they performed their jobs.

“They are also very embarrassed about this entire episode and we have had to look at counselling because we need them to understand that this is not necessarily their fault,” Halliday told hoteliers at the BHTA’s first quarterly meeting at Hilton Barbados.

He also said some senior employees had indicated it was very difficult sometimes for them to walk the streets with the BWA brand exposed. They were advised not to hide the logo, but engage the public in constructive and empathetic discussion.

“The Barbados Water Authority is very, very empathetic; we are very conscious, very aware of what the impact at the national level has been,” Halliday said, adding the authority had adopted the “tone” that this was “a national issue, which means we need as many of our stakeholders to work with us and be as understanding as you can”.

Halliday told the DAILY NATION the Ministry of Health had volunteered to give assistance with the counselling and health checks for employees, after being advised they would normally be done for staff exposed to the waste water and the associated levels of hazard.

He said they were now looking to determine who could give the service and were preparing to share the information “a little more actively with staff”.

Some checks will be compulsory to ensure they happen regularly and there will also be consideration to group counselling. Individuals counselling will be up to staff.

“We just want to make sure that we broaden the avenue of support that we give to our staff. We are not going to sit here and pretend that some of our staff may not be affected,” Halliday said. (GC)