Minister of Health John Boyce is urging the public not to panic even as the south coast sewage crisis continues.
Boyce said the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and the Ministry of Health have implemented short-term measures to tackle the crisis.
“We have to be concerned but we need not panic in these circumstances,” Boyce told members of the media at his Christ Church South constituency office on Saturday.
On Friday BWA Rapid Response and Communications Manager Joyann Haigh reported that there had been no effluent on the streets for the week and disclosed temporary measures taken for restaurants and businesses that have been affected by the year-long sewage problem.
Providing a further update on the progress made by the Ministry of Health and the BWA, Boyce said that the BWA was taking the necessary measures to mitigate the problem. He revealed that the BWA would be installing CCTV cameras to detect the conditions of the sewers.
“Having got the situation into a satisfactorily dry environment, we now have at the technical level to insert visual camera equipment that can help us to see exactly what is happening in these areas,” the Minister of Health said while adding that the next step was to identify the area of greatest damage.
Responding to concerns raised nationally about the quality of the tap water or potable water and the nearshore water on the island, Minister Boyce said there was no need for alarm.
“The potable water has been monitored and there is no cause for alarm,” Boyce said.
He also disclosed that based on investigations conducted in November and December, the quality of water on the beaches remain safe.
With the United States, Canada and Britain issuing health advisories urging their citizens to take the necessary precautions along the south coast stretch, Boyce said that the next course of action was to “demonstrate to the countries involved . . . that the corrections are in place and all is well”.
Making reference to the 35 reported cases of gastroenteritis publicized last week, the Health Minister said that there have been no more reported cases but he urged private doctors to report all cases of suspected gastroenteritis to the Ministry.
“We are not saying nay to any of the experiences which Barbadians or visitors to Barbados may share but I feel duty bound to bring that level of assurance to the Barbadian public that these situations are monitored,” Boyce said.