Former parliamentarian Hamilton Lashley has said he welcomes the steps being taken to address the water outages on the island but indicated that there is a wider problem that needs to be addressed.
Minister for Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick announced this week that storage tanks would be located at a number of parishes to allow for quick access to water during outages
However in an interview with Barbados TODAY Lashley said Government also needed to put all the necessary systems in place to address the drought.
“In light of the fact that the chief technical officer or the general manager of the Barbados Water Authority indicated that Barbados has a serious drought problem, then therefor all systems must be put in place to really deal with this,” Lashley said.
“Even if it means construction of another desalination plant then we might have to do it. Because Barbados has been labelled a water-scarce country and if we have to correct that problem through desalination … then let it be done.
“We are one of the most densely populated nations per square mile on planet earth and therefore we cannot have citizens going through this drought. We really have to have it corrected.”
Lashley, a former Minister of Social Transformation in the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Government, also took issue with the number of vulnerable residents whose water supply has been disconnected due to non-payment of their water bills, particularly the disabled, the elderly and households headed by single women.
“I also believe in Barbados that no senior citizen, no disabled person who is blind or has a physical disability . . . that none of those most vulnerable citizens, or no woman, single woman or women of a large household, particularly children, water should be disconnected.
“I seriously believe this and these people should be exempted because of their special social mitigating conditions and circumstances that they’re living under.
Lashley added that he had raised the matter in parliament, and would like Government to revisit its policy.
“I know of a lot of cases where single women of large households, water has been disconnected. I say ‘no that should not happen’. I say that no disabled person water should be cut off, neither an old person that living alone. No. I feel that Government has to review that policy,” Lashley said.