Facing pressure from fellow MPs, Minister of Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams is warning Barbadians not to expect Worthing beach to reopen immediately after a short-term solution is in place.
Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that a temporary outfall pipe should be functioning by early next week.
“We should be able to commission the outfall by the end of this week, early next week. We keep our fingers crossed and we have to monitor and see what happens,” he said this morning.
But the minister expressed concern that both visitors and locals are not managing expectations for the beach’s reopening after several months of closure to allow the outflow of sewage via the Graham Hall swamp.
“I want people to manage their expectations once the outfall is commissioned because we can’t open the beaches immediately. We have to do testing and allow sufficient time for it to be safe. We need to be happy and comfortable that the beach is entirely safe for use,” said Abrahams.
With the winter tourist season set to begin on Thursday, businesses in the area are growing increasing worried about the impact of the beach’s continued closure. The minister acknowledged that even his Cabinet colleagues are growing impatient with the situation.
“While I understand the pressures other ministries are feeling because of this, I am also under pressure from those in the hotel sector and the tourism sector. A lot of guests are actually emailing us on our website or contacting us on Facebook, asking about the situation. We are doing everything that we can to rectify the problem that we inherited but having said that, let me say that safety comes first. We will reopen the beach as soon as possible,” he stressed.
Member of Parliament for Christ Church South Ralph Thorne last week vowed to put pressure on the Barbados Water Authority to quickly rectify the sewage issues affecting Worthing Beach which is in his constituency.
Thorne was speaking to the media on Thursday at St Lawrence Primary School where he disclosed that several businesses in the surrounding area were struggling owing to the five-month closure.
“The problem in the constituency now would be the restaurateurs and the hoteliers who are on Worthing Beach. As you know, the beach has been closed for a while,” Thorne said.
“They are enduring periods of severe anxiety because if they don’t have a beach, the value of their operation drops remarkably. So we are pressing the Barbados Water Authority and the minister to give us some idea when the beach will be reopened,” he added
Abrahams made it clear that immediately after the mitigating fixes are completed, the rehabilitation of the swamp must take place. He noted that this would include flushing the swamp’s effluent into the sea.