The United Progressive Party (UPP) is calling for a comprehensive study of the south coast sewage problem in order to identify a lasting solution to the uncomfortable mess.
The party’s candidate for Christ Church South, Nadja Willis, contended this morning that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the local authorities were seeking to find a permanent fix by trial and error.
Willis told journalists at a news conference at the Courtyard by Marriott in Hastings, Christ Church that the various causes identified so far, including outdated equipment, pumps that are too small and the lack of maintenance, were nothing short of speculation.
At the same time, the UPP candidate, who is hoping to defeat Member of Parliament and Minister of Health John Boyce, contended that the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration had not done enough to upgrade the system.
“Not enough was done to update the system with all the construction that has occurred along the coast since it came on stream 20 years ago, and residents are concerned that the new Sandals Royal Resort may create even more problems,” Willis said.
“This is right in the heart of the tourist belt. Apart from the residents, there are 120 businesses and 40 restaurants here. If we were in Canada or the US this area would be closed off until the problem was fixed, and if no one here can do it, we should bring in experts from overseas to sort it out,” she added.
Minister of Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick recently announced that the country was seeking outside help in a bid to resolve the situation. The BWA has also said that specialized materials had been ordered to address the ongoing challenges in the network and in the lines.
In the interim, it said, crews from the waste water department were working assiduously to manage the overflows until the breach and blockage could be rectified.
However, Willis saw this as just another election gimmick by an administration which she said had “glossed over” the issue last year when the Boyce and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy dived headlong into the sea at Dover Beach in an attempt to reassure people that there was nothing wrong with the water quality.
“Yes, the Barbados Water Authority is now working on a solution, but residents and business owners are frustrated and angry, and this new hive of activity seems to have only come about because elections are due shortly,” Willis maintained.
Meanwhile, the fledgling UPP is holding Government’s feet to the fire over waste hauler Anderson Fat Child Cherry’s Lower Estate, St George separation plant, which was the cause of much irritation and health concerns for residents of the surrounding communities.
After several weeks of complaints about “toxic” fumes emanating from the plant, and promises by Cherry to ease the foul situation, the Ministry of Health at the start of this month ordered the immediate closure of the offensive dump and directed Cherry to clear the site of all materials within four weeks.
The ministry said the decision was taken after an investigation revealed that the site was being used as a dump.
The UPP’s candidate for St George North, Everton Holligan, today alleged that the ministry ordered the facility closed only after “a few businesses in the area closed because they could not continue to subject their customers and staff to the prevailing conditions”.
“Their feeble and lacklustre response so far has brought to mind the old adage, ‘a day late and a dollar short’.
“We are concerned that no studies have been done to determine how people, especially children, have been affected by the noxious fumes coming from the dump, and if Mr Cherry does not have all of the equipment and material to seal it off, the authorities should step in, provide him with the equipment, and dig up Crown land to provide him with the shrubs and dirt to cover it,” Holligan said.