There is little hope that those business owners who were negatively affected by the sewage crisis on the island’s south coast will be compensated for their losses.
In an interview, a sympathetic Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that Government simply was not in a financial position to pay those businesses for any losses they may have suffered.
His comments came one day after several south coast businesses reported that they had been forced to close their doors last year due to the unbearable stench emanating from the sewage with some claiming from $150 000 to $500 000 in losses.
Abrahams said while he understood the challenging times those businesses had to endure, he pointed out that Government did not have the money to offer any compensation.
“I understand people went through a very, very difficult time and I understand that time stretched for years…and I sympathise entirely with them, that’s why I put myself completely at the disposal of the public in Barbados to make sure that this was dealt with in as quick a time as possible.
“I feel their pain, I feel the pain of everyone who is affected. I feel the pain of the visitors who did not come, I feel the pain of the hoteliers who lost business, I feel the pain of the people who live on the south coast and had to deal with the swamp, but we have done as a Government what we could and we have gotten the sewage off the street…it was a super human effort,” the Minister contended.
“That’s why the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) workers worked overtime. That’s why the contractors and everybody involved in the rectification of the south coast issue went over and above the call of duty. That’s why we did it because we understand what people were going through. Can the Government compensate people for their loss of income? Probably not. We are not in a position to do it and that’s being frank,” he said.
Abrahams however, said he was willing to work with business owners to find alternative solutions and urged them to find creative ways to attract customers.
“It is your business, you know your business well, use initiatives and come together with others in a similar situation. Join your forces, use the entrepreneurial spirit and initiative that Barbados is known for and try to do something for yourself.
“I will work with the affected people to try to help them in any way that I can…,” Abrahams said.