The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) says it stands willing and able to lend a helping hand to the Barbados Government in cleaning up the embarrassing sewage mess along the island’ south coast.
The Director of Economics Justin Ram gave this assurance yesterday while urging the Freundel Stuart administration to make the necessary investment in upgrading the sewerage system, even if it means getting that money from the “very liquid” local banking system.
Ram also strongly urged Government to push ahead with upgrading the island’s road infrastructure, while stressing the need for public private sector partnership.
While revealing that the CDB has been providing a “significant amount of advice and support” to the Government and the private sector here on the matter, Ram said, “we need to start implementing some of the reforms”.
He emphasized that while Government had started some of the work, “a lot more is required”.
“The roads of course need some rehabilitation and we have all heard about the sewage problem on the south coast. There needs to be investment there,” Ram insisted.
“I am not under any illusion that the Government does have a constraint when it comes to resources, but I can assure you that there is a lot of liquidity there, perhaps in the financial system, that we can try to utilize for the rehabilitation of some of our infrastructure,” he said.
Last month during the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave the assurance that recurring sewage leaks along the south coast were being seriously addressed.
At the time, Stuart assured that short-term mitigation measures would be put in place. He also disclosed that the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) was engaging the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as experts from Trinidad and Tobago, on a permanent fix.
However, the BWA, which has come in for intense criticism over its handling of the matter over the past year, admitted yesterday that interim measures to control the flow of sewage water into the streets had failed.
It was not the first time the BWA admitted to a failure, after giving several assurances that short-term corrective measures were working. However, Ram told Barbados TODAY the projects department at CDB was in active discussion with the BWA “around what needs to happen”, even as he cautioned that a lasting solution would not happen overnight.
“What we are seeing now in the sewage sector a solution will take some time to be fleshed out. I know that our projects department within the bank has had very fruitful discussions with the Government about that. We stand ready, willing and able to assist once the Government has decided that this is what it wants to do. We are standing ready to assist,” Ram said.
“As it relates to other infrastructure, we have always provided resources to the Government of Barbados to have a proper road network for example, but I think at this point a lot of the issues that we are seeing relates to other greater macroeconomic fundamentals of the economy, which I think need to be sorted out first,” he added.