The umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSAB) today joined the chorus of calls for a speedy resolution to the south coast sewage mess.
While raising concern about its impact on job security as well as national productivity, CTUSAB cautioned that there was need for an urgent fix.
“It is the Congress’ view that should the problem of the sewage spills and pollution of the environment on the south coast remain unresolved, this will continue to result in the layoff of workers. Further, it will also lead to some employees experiencing a reduction of their take-home pay as a direct consequence of reduced hours of work.
“Given that the prevailing environmental issues can pose a threat to the health of residents and workers, as well as contribute to reduced levels of worker productivity, CTUSAB urges the authorities to continue to work aggressively, towards finding a long term solution to the south coast sewage problem,” the Congress said in a statement released by its General Secretary Dennis De Peiza.
At the same time, it called attention to the “tireless and relentless” efforts of employees of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the Ministry of Health and other public sector agencies to alleviate the suffering and inconvenience caused by the effluent spills and emanating odours that have been the subject of recent tourism advisories issued by the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Germany.
In light of the negative international press the island has been getting on account of the sewage spills, the Congress also said it understood the severity of the impact which the crisis had on south coast businesses which have suffered a substantial loss of revenue.
Just recently, BWA General Manager Keithroy Halliday told Barbados TODAY that the dye test results were back from overseas and had confirmed what the local engineers had in mind for the digging of injection wells.
Halliday said that with the approval of the stakeholders, including Cabinet, the BWA would be pushing ahead with putting the wells into operation for the safe disposal of the sewage.
He also assured that this measure, though temporary, would ease the constant overflows and allow the water works company to repair breaches.
However, both the BWA and the Ministry of Water Resource Management have admitted that the construction of a tertiary sewage plant would be necessary in the long term with Government currently in discussion with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other financial institutions to fund its construction.