There has been mixed reaction in St Joseph to Thursday’s announcement of a planned management shake-up at the under-fire Barbados Water Authority (BWA), with most residents adopting a wait and see approach.
Among them was community activist Andrew Dixon, who last September led approximately 150 residents of the water-starved parish in a march on the BWA headquarters in The Pine, St Michael, complaining that they had been without water for up to a year, yet they had been receiving exorbitant bills.
During the march Dixon had called for Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick to be fired.
Following Thursday’s report that BWA Acting General Manager Dr John Mwansa would go as part of the shake-up, Dixon Friday told Barbados TODAY he was unsure of the proposed changes and would therefore wait to assess the situation before commenting.
However, the lack of details did not prevent 51-year-old Lolita Brathwaite of Melvin Hill from expressing reservations about the upcoming changes.
Brathwaite, who has resided in the community for the past six years, said even with a managerial shake-up she did not anticipate any significant changes.
“It is not going to get any better unless the Government decide to help the poor. We poor [people are] suffering and every month them sending a bill. I ain’t paying a cent,” she told Barbados TODAY.
She said she had been without reliable running water between August and November, with the supply restored just in time for Christmas.
“The water does . . . go down and come back up and sometimes when it comes back in the pressure too low. I does got to get bottled water to cook and wash,” Brathwaite added.
Even with the precious commodity running from her tap again, Brathwaite took the opportunity to criticize the BWA’s decision to discontinue the use of a water tank which had been placed in the community.
“I would like to know what sense you bring a tank in the district and disconnect it. Before December them disconnect this here to clean it and up to now nobody ain’t come and clean it or fix it back. Pipe was off for four days up here and tank empty. Why them bring it just to leave it empty?”
Nonetheless, Horse Hill resident Krystal Grant adopted a more optimistic approach, even though she had gone 11 months without a steady supply of water, including the entire period of her pregnancy.
Grant told Barbados TODAY the situation had since improved, with the water trucks paying regular visits.
She was also hopeful there would be continued improvements with the changes at the water company.
“The person that they have now is a person that was working there before and they would know what’s going on than some person who has never even lived in Barbados. So I believe it is going to be pretty OK. So far so good,” Granted added.