General Manager of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Keithroy Halliday has dismissed reports that the state agency had recently severed 80 employees.
As a matter fact, Halliday said the very thought of sending home this many people was ludicrous, as it would essentially cripple operations at the BWA, which is already under pressure with the south coast sewage crisis and rehabilitation of the Bridgetown sewerage plant.
“That does not even make sense. Where would we find 80 persons to send home? If that happened, operations at the Barbados Water Authority would be crippled,” Halliday told Barbados TODAY on the fringes of today’s briefing at the Country Road, St Michael offices of Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams, to provide an update on the south coast sewage crisis.
Abrahams also supported the BWA boss’ position, shrugging off the claims of large-scale dismissals as nonsense.
Stories began circulating on social media last week of mass firings at the BWA, giving rise to claims from political circles that victimization was at play.
One political operative even accused the media of turning a blind eye to what was deemed an abuse of power.
“Could you imagine that you guys in the media are concerned with what is going on with the DLP [Democratic Labour Party] and if they are going to have an annual conference or not but would not cover the fact that 80 persons get send home from [Barbados] Water Authority? If that isn’t victimization I don’t know what is. Investigative journalism in Barbados is really dead,” said one person who spoke to Barbados TODAY anonymously on Thursday about the issue.
Another concerned person, who also gave a comment on condition of anonymity, accused the Mia Mottley-led Government of operating under a shroud of secrecy.
“How could they send home 80 people and not come to the people and first explain to them why this happen? They campaigned on the promise that they were not going to victimize anyone. So why are we hearing whispers of people being sent home? If this was the DLP we would have already heard a big uproar,” he said.
However, Halliday today said it was likely the stories stemmed from the end of job attachment and training programmes hosted by the water company.
“We had an attachment programme with 27 students, which came to an end. We also had a programme where we trained a pool of reserve workers and that also came to an end. So I am assuming that this was where those unfortunate rumours got started. But I can assure you that no staff at our organization has been let go,” Halliday stressed.