The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) today expressed regret over the travel and health advisories issued by the United States and Canadian governments to their citizens in light of the sewage mess along this island’s south coast.
Yesterday, the government in Ottawa, through the Public Health Agency of Canada, issued the safety and security warning, advising its residents to avoid the affected area, while the US issued a health alert telling its citizens to “avoid water activities in the affected areas” on the south coast between St Lawrence Gap and Hastings and to “beware of sewage on the streets”.
In a statement issued tonight following talks with the management and technical team at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), which is responsible for coming up with a workable fix, the BHTA said the advisories underscored the need for urgent remedial action.
While suggesting that the situation should have been avoided, the BHTA said even though it was very disappointed that not enough progress had been made over the past year in resolving the problem, it remained focused on finding solutions.
“The travel and health advisories which have been issued as a caution, though regrettable, reiterate what we have been trying to avoid by urging heightened and more urgent action.
“The BHTA regrets that our members, staff, guests and residents have had to endure this failure to manage the challenges of the sewerage system,” the BHTA statement said, adding that “it is our belief that this matter must engage those at the highest level and all resources required must be made available immediately”.
At the same time, the hotel association said it was “heartened that over the past two to three days the affected areas have remained dry and clear as the work continues”.
Following today’s meeting, BHTA CEO Rudy Grant also said that an assurance was given by the BWA that the current repair work would be completed within three months.
“In the meantime, it is expected that they will continue the current short-term mitigating measures to provide relief to businesses and residents in the affected areas.
“It is critical, particularly as a result of the advisories issued, that there is constant assessment and review of the short term measures implemented, to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of this situation. It is imperative that every possible action is taken to safeguard brand Barbados and the wellbeing of Barbadians, residents and visitors,” Grant said.