Business owners and operators on the south coast are happy that sewage is no longer flowing in the streets but they are still reeling from the massive losses they suffered from a fall-off in business due to the crisis, which plagued them for months.
While patting Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her Cabinet on the back for saving them from the nightmare of a broken sewage system many of them say they are now left to put measures in place to recover from the significant financial impact.
Owner of Kelly’s Kloset in Worthing, Kelly Puma said she was pleased that within a few weeks of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) taking office in May last year, the “river of sewage”, disappeared and has not been seen since.
“It has definitely improved. And it is nice not to have it running in front of my store. I had to close my business for four months from around March until the end of July. It was horrible. We had it coming up through the tiles from under the building. We had to take everything out of here. It cost me $5,000 to come in after and redo the shop; to clean it again, to paint it again, sanitise it,” she recalled.
“I lost over $150,000 in business. Every single one of us along this area lost serious money and it was a very scary time because you didn’t know when it was going to be fixed or if it was going be fixed,” Puma said.
The business owner said prior to the change in Government she felt as though businesses in the area were not being fed information about the issue that was affecting them directly. Not even the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) seemed to have any answers.
Meanwhile, Emily Worme, the owner of Coral Sands Hotel on Worthing Beach, estimated that the “horrendous” crisis caused her to lose over $500,000 in business.
Worme explained that while she did not close her doors, at one point, she had no guests at the 20-year-old hotel.
She said it hurt whenever potential guests inquired whether the situation was under control and she had to tell them the truth knowing they would not come.
Worme indicated that since the situation improved last year, Coral Sands has had to lower its rates to attract guests.
“I am now working on getting back my people. A lot of people did not come back this year in the winter because I could not tell them if the problem would be rectified. I couldn’t say yes come it would be better.
“This is the first time I have ever suffered because of sewage. I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around how Barbados with some intelligent people could let something like that come to that; watch it happen and do nothing about it for so long,” Worme said.
Assistant Manager at Chicken Barn Worthing Kimmaria Codrington said the restaurant, which also had to close its doors for several months, was pleased to report that business was back to normal.
“Customers are happy and staff are happy. And we reopened with a make-over, with a bang. We have a salad bar which is new to this branch and now we have customers coming more than before, so we are doing good business here at Worthing,” the Assistant Manager said.
Chicken Barn employee Crotona Lorde said she felt relieved not to have to endure the terrible stench that caused her stomach ache, itchy eyes, and irritated her throat for many months.
Lorde explained that workers could once again use the changing room in the basement which they had to abandon for some time, because it became filled with sewage whenever the rain fell.
In February this year, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams disclosed while giving an update on the South Coast Sewerage Project, that a state of normalcy had been achieved, and noted that a continuous maintenance of the entire sewer network was in place.