Opposition Leader Mia Mottley is demanding that Government makes public the findings of a recent test carried out on the Worthing canal outflow.
Her demand came in response to a suggestion made last week by Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy that Worthing Beach should never have been closed.
“I want Richard Sealy to tell the country what the public health test showed on Monday last week, with respect to the water that was sampled, and whether the tests for the water closest to the sluice gate could have been read, or if it was off the charts,” she told a large crowd at Top Rock, Christ Church last night.
Suggesting that there may be a high level of contamination, Mottley also countered a statement by Minister of Health John Boyce that the overflow of discoloured water into the sea was caused by heavy rains two weeks ago.
“It didn’t start, John Boyce, with the rainfall on the 29th of November,” she said, quoting numerous media reports “from as early as the 4th of November of sewage being seen all along the south coast.
“There was no deluge of rain at that point,” Mottley stressed.
The Opposition Leader had first publicly rang alarm bells on the state of the south coast sewerage system in October 2015, when she read at a BLP annual conference at Foundation School, excerpts of a report to the Barbados Water Authority by the Ministry of Health’s biochemist and water quality consultant Patricia Inniss.
However, Mottley said back then she was “mocked” by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart after she warned him about the non-functioning south coast sewerage plant.
“But 14 months later, what do we have?”, asked Mottley, who last night quoted extensively from a memorandum titled, Funds Are Needed For Our Collapsing Sewerage System, which was reportedly sent by Inniss to the BWA Chairman Dr Atlee Brathwaite and copied to the Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick.
“If funds are not urgently sequestered to correct the multiplicity of problems plaguing both our sewerage treatment plants and their surrounding networks, we face the real possibility of their soon collapse,” the memo from Inniss reportedly said.
“You are aware that the South Coast Sewerage Treatment plant has been virtually non-functioning for over a year, as over 90 per cent of the sewage entering the plant is now being diverted from the influent pumps to the effluent pumps.”
Mottley, who had earlier called on the Prime Minister to instruct his Minister of Finance to make the necessary funds available to the BWA, also referred to customer complaints that sewage was contaminating the Graeme Hall Swamp, as she quoted from the memo.