The latest attempt by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to ease the concerns of water-deprived consumers in northern and eastern parishes has backfired, with residents now angrier than ever.
The BWA issued a press release yesterday advising residents in St Peter, St Andrew, St John and St Joseph that “as a precautionary measure” it would reactivate some of the community tanks to ensure the availability of water “in the event that any unforeseen service disruptions occur over the Christmas holiday”.
However, some Boscobel, St Peter customers saw the announcement as disrespectful and an insult to their intelligence.
“How could it be an unforeseen occurrence when we in Boscobel have no water at the moment? If the water was on now then by Christmas something happens [that causes it to go off] then you could talk about unforeseen. These people need to stop treating people as if they stupid. I am big man, these people need to talk to me as if I got understanding too, just come out and tell the people that they not getting any [running] water this Christmas,” Javon Scantlebury said.
Residents also told Barbados TODAY reserved tanks have been drained for cleaning by the BWA for the last five days but have remained empty. In addition, they complained bitterly that the BWA trucks have visited only once this week, which is far from adequate for the numerous household chores which are part of the traditional Barbadian Christmas preparations.
Barbados TODAY reported last week that the people of Boscobel, St Peter were facing the prospects of a third Christmas without running water.
In an email to this newspaper this morning, a furious Shaney Forde from Boscobel, which straddles St Peter and St Andrew, described the situation as “simply ridiculous” and said it would not be a jolly Christmas for consumers.
“This is a repeat of last year and no baking, no smell of fresh laundry, no preparation is being done because of this [water outage].
“[It is] simply ridiculous and shaping up to be a folly, folly Christmas,” Forde wrote.
However, BWA Corporate Communications Specialist Joy-Ann Haigh is insisting that the proposed measures were simply contingencies designed to minimize disruptions.
“All we are saying is that we are going to try our best to put some plans in place in the event that there is some break in the system, a stop failure in equipment. This is to help to mitigate [in that eventuality]. If nothing happens then the water would still be there in the tanks and the tankers would still be there to ensure that everybody is still ok,” Haigh said.