Community activist Adrian Donovan said he was taking a promise by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart that a fix was on the horizon for the ongoing sewage mess on the south coast with a tiny pinch of salt.
Donovan, who has not been shy to speak out since raw sewage began flowing onto streets and the premises of businesses and residents more than a year ago, said Government had broken too many promises to fix the vexing problem, therefore he was not about to take the Prime Minister’s word this time around.
“I believe that all us here on the south coast would be actually comforted when we can see with our own two eyes that the problem has been fixed. At this stage we can only take the Prime Minister seriously when we see the results. We have had enough of all the pretty talk and long talk that we can handle. We want action,” Donovan told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
Speaking at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon on Wednesday, Stuart gave the assurance that the sewage problem would soon be a thing of the past, as the country embarks on a long-term solution with financial help from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Amid growing calls for him to break his silence on what the Barbados Water Authority described as a national crisis, the Prime Minister disclosed that he was in possession of a final report following extensive testing and assessments carried out by experts since December last year.
While he did not give details of the report, nor did he reveal how much it would cost to resolve the crisis, Stuart explained that he would soon send the report to the IDB, which would then provide the necessary assistance.
“So we are committed in the short-term to mitigation measures where possible, but when all is said and done, the country needs to be assured the Inter-American Development Bank is involved in this. We have reports. The matter is being evaluated. There are experts in this area whose wisdom and insights we have to take seriously and therefore on whose wisdom and insights we rely . . . So the matter is receiving our daily attention,” he assured.
However, Donovan argued that with each false dawn the problem had worsened, and based current trends, little to no positive results could be expected.
“On Wednesday night in front of Lanterns the sewage was bubbling up at least a foot in the air. This is about a week after the Barbados Water Authority said that they put in a temporary solution. I would like to know which part of that was temporarily fixed. Right now the problem is worse than it has ever been, so as I said, I am not going to trust anything the Prime Minister or anybody says until I see real action,” Donovan stressed.
The constant flow of raw sewage onto the streets and the compounds of homes and businesses, mainly in Hastings and Worthing, Christ Church, has left locals and visitors alike worried, and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) at a loss as to how to fix the problem.
The ongoing crisis has led to travel advisories by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, which have cautioned their citizens here to “take normal security precautions” while here, with Washington further advising Americans 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 street”.
Despite these warnings from the three major source markets, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy today said there had been no adverse impacts on tourist arrivals.
“I am satisfied that . . . we are doing everything that we are supposed to do in order to ensure that brand Barbados is pushed in our traditional markets. We are seeing tremendous results because we gone past 660,000 tourist arrivals for 2017. So we are going in the right direction and the Barbados Water Authority is addressing the issues on the south coast,” Sealy told the media this morning at the launch site of a $5 million road rehabilitation project at Flagstaff, Wildey, St Michael, bankrolled by CAF Development Bank of Latin America.