One day after Sandals General Manager Fernand Zievinger warned the ongoing sewage crisis on the south coast was not good for business, one accommodation executive is counting her losses as a result of the mess.
Manager of Gentle Breeze Apartments in Worthing, Christ Church Emily Long is reporting that the establishment has received a number of cancellations in light of the crisis.
Long is also worried that those who have not yet cancelled might opt out of their reservations the moment they arrive at the property.
“We’re supposed to have guests today but I don’t know if they are going to stay; that’s the truth. They might just come and be like, ‘no, we’re not staying,’” Long told Barbados TODAY.
The manager said the situation was so bad, that with faeces swimming at the back of the apartment complex on Monday, the last remaining guest stomped out complaining, “she just couldn’t deal with it”.
“It was really, really bad. It was the worst I had ever seen it,” recounted Long.
Equally disturbing for the tourism executive are the number of guests asking whether the problem will be resolved by next year, with many having second thoughts about their planned stay at the south coast property.
“People that are supposed to come next year are already asking whether they should come, but we don’t have any definite answers to give them. We’re just waiting to see like everybody else,” she said.
Among those thinking about calling off their trip are English couple Drusilla Stainsby and her partner.
They are due to arrive here on January 10, 2017 for a two-month stay at Gentle Breeze Apartments, but are likely to change their minds, Stainsby told Barbados TODAY.
The regular visitors were not being reassured by the absence of clarity on the cause of the problem and when it will be resolve, she added.
“Neither the owner of Gentle Breeze Apartments nor the manager seem to know what the Barbados Water Authority or the Government are doing to stop this situation recurring,” Stainsby said.
“We will have to try to reclaim our rental money from the owner of the apartments. As to the airfares [that is] difficult.
“We have been visiting your beautiful island for many years and we are very worried about the current situation, as we have no wish to stay in accommodation which has been contaminated with sewage. We are both senior citizens and take health issues very seriously,” she added.
When Barbados TODAY visited the business today, a Barbados Water Authority (BWA) pumping tanker was stationed there removing the last of the waste from the premises.
However, the Gentle Breeze Apartments manager described a chronic problem, with excrement and toilet paper scattered around the compound becoming a regular occurrence for over a year.
In fact, she said the sewage problem had been lingering during the entire two-year period that she has worked at the Worthing, Christ Church guest house; only that it had spiralled out of control since the rains of November 29.
“In 2014, it was the smell we had to deal with, but this year and last year too, we had stool coming out from the back apartments. Now it’s really bad,” she said.
The putrid smell from the sewer is not only an environmental concern, but a health issue as well for the manager, who revealed that the sewage was surrounding her office at the back of the apartment complex.
In a graphic and upsetting description of the effect it was having on her, Long told Barbados TODAY she sometimes had a burning sensation in her throat and she could virtually taste the waste from the smell alone.
“I have to work here, I have to deal with it, so even if they don’t have any guests, I still have to come down here. I still have to smell it, I still have to deal with it. It’s not a pretty sight, it’s not a nice smell. I think they should hurry up and just fix it,” she pleaded.
Sharing further worries as the busy winter season commences, Long said: “My biggest fear is that next year January people are going to start coming in. We have a boatload of people coming in, and I am afraid that they won’t come or want to stay, and you know business is going to start going downhill. So that is what I am afraid of.”
Also concerned about the crisis, resident Raymond Mustor told Barbados TODAY he was not interested in apportioning blame, he simply wanted the problem resolved.
“It’s a major, major problem and the Governments have known about it,” Mustor, said.
“It has nothing to do with DLP and BLP. It’s about people’s livelihood and people’s health. All of that needs to be looked at,” he said in reference to the governing Democratic Labour Party and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.
Mustor said with the issue continuing to attract public attention, BWA sewage tankers have visited the area three times already this week, with the flow stopping at each visit, only to return. [email protected]