Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for St Michael South East Santia Bradshaw today cried shame on the Freundel Stuart administration over its inability to resolve the ongoing sewage leaks along the south coast.
Speaking during debate on the Land Tax Amendment Bill, Bradshaw said: “I cannot sit here as a Member of Parliament on a debate on a land tax [bill] in relation to the tourism sector and not . . . touch on the fact that there is a fiasco taking place on the south coast of this island.
“They would want us to be numb on that,” she said, while crying shame on Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, Minister of Health John Boyce and Minister of Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, who spoke before her, for failing to frontally address the issue, which she said had resulted in considerable loss to businesses, even if they were benefiting from the land tax rebate.
Her comments came just four days after top officials of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) reported to the public that the temporary fixes implemented to tackle the south coast sewage crisis were holding and that the mitigation plan, which consisted of diverting some of the waste to the Bridgetown sewage plant, installation of new ten inch pumps and taking some customers offline, had rid the streets of the foul smelling effluent.
However this afternoon Barbados TODAY witnessed the sewer caps on the stretch of road in front of First Caribbean International Bank Rendezvous branch and Worthing post office again profusely bubbling over with excrement.
When contacted this afternoon, BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday said he was surprised by the development and that an investigation had been launched to determine why the caps were leaking.
“We just hearing some things which are surprising so we are getting some investigations done to determine what is going on,” Halliday said.
However, the BWA’s Rapid Response and Communications Manager Joyann Haigh told Barbados TODAY that leaks which occurred last night were expected as the BWA was doing some tests on the system. However, she was baffled as to why leaks were still occurring today.
“Last night the workers were out there making some checks and they knew that it was going to bubble. But what I am learning about now is what I have to go and investigate,” she said.
In the meantime, concerned residents said it was even worse last night, as the vile contents from the manholes directly in front of Lanterns were also overflowing onto street.
“I don’t know why they [BWA] don’t keep their mouth closed until the matter is fixed once and for all. Every minute they saying that they fix it or it under control, but they like they forget that this is a problem that you can’t hide. You can see it and smell every time you pass in front here,” said one Rendezvous resident, who spoke anonymously.
His neighbour, Mark Bourne, said he was not the least bit surprised that the temporary fix seemed no longer to be working, as it was not the first false dawn by the BWA.
“I don’t know what they did, but it only work for a few days but once the rain come again we all knew this was going to happen,” Bourne said, while pointing out that it was not the first time the authorities had read the situation wrong.
In December 2016, following the reopening of Worthing Beach, which was temporarily closed as a result of suspected contamination from the sewage spill, the BWA had blamed a broken pump at the South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant, but later reported that the problem was fixed.
However, more than a year later sewage water is still bubbling in the streets.
Just last week, three of the island’s main tourist source markets, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada , issued advisories to their citizens to be careful when visiting the island due to the ongoing sewage mess.
Today, Bradshaw accused Government of trying to “tidy up in its dying days” and “putting the horse before the cart”.
However, she said she was intent on ensuring that the administration did not escape the necessary critique of its handling of the south coast sewage mess, even as Speaker of the House Michael Carrington interrupted her on a point of relevance.