Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss today defended his Government in the face of a scathing attack issued by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley over its failure to the resolve the south coast sewage mess.
Amid warnings of a crisis situation, Mottley on Sunday accused the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) administration of neglecting the south coast sewerage system in favour of three major tourism redevelopments – Sam Lord’s Castle, the Pierhead Marina and Grantley Adams International Airport.
Speaking to a large crowd of supporters at the official launch of the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) 2018 election campaign, Mottley also contended that funding for much-needed maintenance of the sewerage system, was denied because of an “internecine war” between Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and Minister of Agriculture and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick.
However, Inniss said today “there is no way that his Government would have been made aware of a major risk in an issue like this and not sought to address it”.
He also pointed out that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), which is charged with coming up with a workable solution, is the same entity that it was when Mottley was a Cabinet minister.
“[Therefore], its employees do not think about BLP or DLP, they think about getting the job done,” Inniss said, adding that “if there was a problem that was raised two years ago, I feel comfortable that they would have sought to address it there and then”.
Inniss also assured that Government was not turning a blind eye to the ongoing sewage leaks, adding that based on his discussions with the relevant agencies they have been working around-the-clock to find short-term and long-term solutions.
“Had the Government thrown its hands in the air and not gone out there and through public discourse, kept the country aware of the challenges, identify solutions and implemented them, perhaps we could have had a deeper crisis on our hands. Now I note and I have seen for myself in the last couple of days, that it is not anywhere as bad as, let’s say, a week before. But I don’t want people to feel there is a sense of complacency. The State is still working around-the-clock to find long-term solutions,” he emphasized, adding that he expected the situation along the south coast to shortly return to a sense of normalcy.
“And certainly in terms of investment in that geographical space up there, I don’t think there has been a significant negative impact,” he added.