Government is in the process of making good on its promises to resolve some of the problems Barbadians have faced over the last few years with access to public utilities and transportation.
In her address to the nation this evening, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said her administration had worked diligently to correct some of the missteps made in the public transport sector by the previous administration.
“The last Government did not buy any buses, and the probolem with that is that we cannot keep repairing [the current buses] because sometimes the parts are no longer available from the manufacturers.
“Apart from that, they also increased the number of privately owned public service vehicle permits from 500 to 750, and created a situation where some routes were inundated while others remained poorly serviced. We are now working to mitigate this. We have moved from a situation where we only had about 40 buses available on a daily basis to one where we now have some 80 buses a day. We have also ordered 34 electric buses and the charging stations that will go along with them. We have started at this level because we must bear in mind that we are still under an economic recovery
The Prime Minister also touched on the issue of water supply, noting that apart from the poor maintenance of an archaic network of water mains, climate change was also a factor that affected our groundwater reserves.
She outlined the measures Government would take to mitigate the water shortages faced by residents in some parts of the island.
“We have already worked with Ionics to deliver water down to Trents [St James] to help people in the north, and we are in the processs of getting the necessary equipment to build new reservoirs and increase the capacity at our pumping stations.
“Last week, I signed a further loan with the Latin American Development Bank to help us deal with the issue of mains repair. We will also take possession of two desalination facilities for Colleton in St Lucy and Joe’s River in St Joseph to help the people in these areas,” the Prime Minister disclosed.
Beyond that, Mottley said Government would establish a Water Stabilization Fund to ensure the island would always have financial resources on hand to sustain its water supply and keep the mains in working order.
In terms of electricity, she noted that the first temporary generators the Barbados Light and Power Company (BL&P) had rented to improve electricity supply had already come into the island, and more were expected to come in by the end of this month.
Apart from that, she said, the Government was also working with BL&P in its transition towards greater use of renewable energy.