1000 Barbados Water Authority Employees Walk Out Over Non-Payment Of Wages

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Barbados Government Out Of Cash?

This is the fifth time this year that we have heard reports of cashflow problems with the Government of Barbados. Just last Wednesday June 21st, Barbados Forum posted that sources are claiming that “…the GoB is currently experiencing an acute cashflow problem on Current Account…” (See Barbados Government Cash Flow Problem?)

More indications of cashflow problems surfaced yesterday when 1000 employees of the Barbados Water Authority walked off the job over the government’s failure to pay back wages as previously agreed.

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Have We Overspent on the Cricket World Cup, Mr. Prime Minister?

Watch you wallets, folks… Somebody has to pay the piper, and that somebody is going to be each one of us!

Excerpt from the CBC report (link here)…

Workers at the Barbados Water Authority walked off the job and they only returned after management agreed to start paying new wages and salaries from this week.

The near one thousand workers say the BWA had promised to start payment from last month, but nothing has happened.

This morning they refused to drive a stroke telling management that they would stay off the job until an agreement on when they will be paid was reached…

Early last month, the Barbados Workers Union and the BWA agreed to the new rates, which cleared the way for the workers to collect over 10 million dollars in back pay.

At that time, it was said that payments would start at the beginning of May, but this has not happened.

46 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Politics & Corruption

46 responses to “1000 Barbados Water Authority Employees Walk Out Over Non-Payment Of Wages

  1. william duguid

    As I understand the issue this is over additional money which has been in negotiations for several years. I think it is unfortunate that you are trying to convey the impression that there is a cash flow problem. That is clearly not the case.

  2. BFP

    Hi Doctor

    This incident is not the only indicator that the treasury is a little shy of funds – just the most recent. The CBC article stated that the salary increases had been agreed to start last month, but it never happened.

    As to this “clearly” having nothing to do with a cash flow problem, you may have a different perspective from inside the government, but we on the outside can only look at the indicators – and what we see does not reassure us.

    Robert

  3. Comment Maker

    you know I’ve looked over at the Barbados Forum article, I’m not that sure if the “sources” invoked are not the BFP articles.

    Is any goverment project not completed evidence of a cash flow crisis? I don’t think any of the indicators are there. The private sector in the early 90’s knew when there REALLY was a cash flow crisis because Government’s trade credit escalated. Government was late on making payments on a very wide range of items. That talk is not making the circuit now.

    I’d just chalk it up to BFP being hysterical again

  4. BFP

    Comment Maker shows his agenda…

    The Barbados Free Press articles were way back in March and talk about a road being unrepaired for 2 years and the National Drug Plan payments to pharmacists being three months behind.

    The current Barbados Forum story has nothing to do with either of these situations or anything else we mentioned back in March – and Comment Maker knows that.

    Comment Maker, like Adrian, has an agenda of trying to undermine any stories that hit the government particularly hard – even if they have to lie, misrepresent or invent details to do so.

    Nice try Comment Maker… but your agenda is showing big time.

  5. BFP

    And here is another little indicator…

    http://bararchive.bits.baseview.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=./pubfiles/bar/archive/2006/April/03/Business/17833.xml&start=0&numPer=20&keyword=Geralyn+Edward&sectionSearch=&begindate=4%2F1%2F2006&enddate=6%2F27%2F2006&authorSearch=&IncludeStories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=allwords&archive_pubname=Daily+Nation%09%09%09

    $55 m VAT owed to companies
    by Geralyn Edward

    BUSINESSES IN BARBADOS are owed $45 million in refunds from the Value Added Tax (VAT) Division and another $10 million in interest.

    The situation, says chairman of Barbados Shipping & Trading (BS &T) Sir Allan Fields, was “getting out of hand” and creating hardship for several companies, particularly those manufacturing for export.

    The independent senator who is immediate past president of the Private Sector Association said: “Manufacturers in this country who export a significant percentage of their production are always owed refunds by the VAT department because of the disparity between input and output VAT, as the exported product does not attract VAT. Therefore, there is nothing to offset it against.”

    Sir Allan said some companies were owed for up to five VAT periods, or 10 months, and more. This, he contended, was putting pressure on the cash flow of these organisations and added to the cost of manufactured products.

    “I am aware of two such companies – which, collectively, are owed over $5 million for the period between May 2005 and now.

    “There is a company in Barbados that was so frustrated and disadvantaged by the system that the owner converted his company, which exported 80 per cent of its production, into an IBC [international business company] to avoid paying VAT. This does, of course, mean that he can no longer sell his goods in Barbados and will probably have to cut back on his employees,” the senator noted.

    He conceded there were companies and professionals who owed millions to the VAT office. “In any society there will be those who will try to circumvent the system . . . but these are outnumbered by legitimate businesses whose taxes support this economy and this country,” he said.

    According to Sir Allan, “If we are serious about exports to earn foreign exchange, keep manufacturers in business, maintain employment and reduce our balance of payments, this issue has to be addressed with urgency.”

    VAT was introduced in January 1997.

  6. Comment Maker

    “Comment Maker, like Adrian, has an agenda of trying to undermine any stories that hit the government particularly hard – even if they have to lie, misrepresent or invent details to do so.”

    Sorry that you feel that way BFP, I have always viewed my comments as critical support . I do think however that where I think you have erred it should be pointed out. Eg The Bonito Bar story, The Sewerage in the Water Supply Story, yes the government cash flow story, the Justice Cornelius story and we can go on and on….

    While I do think there is a role for a BFP in Barbados, I don’t think that wild speculation (Cornelius story) or “creative parsing” of the facts (sewerage in water story) in what is really an international forum helps anyone, other than to drive up BFP’s readership.

    The potential to damage someones reputation (and possibly the country’s) is huge (Cornelius story, Bonito Bar story, water story) so I make my comments where I deem them necessary. Other stories (water park, Liz Thompson, etc. etc.) I don’t touch because while I may not agree with what is said I can’t say that they aren’t true, or that they shouldn’t be held up to scrutiny.

    What I have noticed on this blog is a definite tendancy to attack comments that are not favourable to BFP, sometimes going way outside of the comments made or spreading the comments far and beyond what (to my mind) would be reasonably assumed.

    Maybe my agenda is showing, but I think BFP doesn’t see what it is, or can’t see what it is.

  7. I want solid evidence, assumptions are fine as long as they are not painted as solid evidence. So next time bring a real gift to the lucky dip and not a toffee wrapped in multiple layers of gift wrap. 😀

    ….if i have an agenda, it is to expose you, your gift wrap no matter how pretty, will be rip apart and discarded like the others used to conceal the toffees you bring tuh de pot. 😀

  8. BFP

    So tell us Comment Maker…

    What did you see in the story at Barbados Forum that lead you to believe it had anything to do with the story we ran in March?

    robert

  9. ross

    Adrian, what parables you talking now?
    If you know something about BFP then you should reveal it so that everybody can know too. Leave out all the inuendo unless you can back it up with some “solid evidence”.
    It is clear to everybody who is awake that the Government has a cash flow problem. It was inevitable and will probably get much worse. How to get it resolved is the main concern now.
    Adrian, what do you think the Government can or will do to resolve the current cash flow problem?

  10. At de right time Ronald at de right time. I will expose you and i will expose other relationships, at de right time. 😀 and i may never do so. My sole purpose is to ensure that this current DLP does not make it into the halls of power in Barbados.

  11. Government cash flow problems real or imagined is not a serious issue.

    What happens to Barbados still depends on luck.

    Lucky if no hurricane hits this year.

    Lucky if Oil prices go downward.

    Lucky if Barbados’ Tax haven status remains the same.

    Lucky if there are no events to stop the Tourist from travelling.

    Lucky if WCC2007 is a success.

    If Barbados is lucky on all counts, the BLP will win the next election.

  12. BFP

    Hants might be speak de truth

    shona

  13. John

    Comment Maker

    Here is a report in the international forum dealing with water in Barbados. If you read it carefully you will realise the issues we face as a country and just how careful we must be about so called development.

    http://www.centrogeo.org.mx/unep/documentos/Barbados/BARBADOSagua.pdf

    There are plenty more if you care to look.

    A sewage system costing hundreds of millions of dollars was recently installed on the South Coast. Why would a country the size of Barbados spend that amount of money on a sewage system for less than half the coastline of the urban corridor?

    There is one planned for the West Coast which we no longer hear of. This one will be even more expensive. Each will put CWC in the shade when it comes to expenditure. Talk about priorities!!

    All the same there may be overruns for CWC so better not make that statement yet!!

    Both sewage systems result from the porous nature of the coral cap. This same porous coral cap surrounds public water supply wells.

    Obviously, sewage in the water is a reality and is a conclusion that doesn’t require any creative parsing of facts. It is a simple application of the old duck test.

    ……. and Adrian, what have toffees done you now? I love them. you should try them sometime.

  14. John

    Adrian

    Even stupid me could figure out your agenda. That is why I say you are so predictable.

    Maybe you should go looking for facts and make BFP spicier.

  15. John

    … and who is Ronald now?

  16. BFP

    Very good Comment Maker, and thank you for that reference.

    How did you find it? We googled our hearts out and never encountered it. Please send anything else you have access to.

    Thank you

    Robert
    barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com

  17. John

    Please note there is a difference between potable water and ground water.

    Ground water is made potable after pumping by disinfecting with chlorine.

    Ground water has both bacterial and chemical contamination present.

    Bacterial contamination is removed by disinfecting.

    Chemical contamination needs more radical treatment to be removed … but it can be, it is just adds expense and creates dependency on the technolgy supplier.

  18. BFP

    Thank you John

    Robert called you comment maker earlier on, but he may have been suffering from too long a day at work, and then too many Banks afterwards.

    He is probably not at all well this morning.

    Robert? You There? ha ha ha !

  19. Jane

    What a wonderful tool the internet is. Can’t imagine being without it.

  20. Comment Maker

    John, John, John….

    Here we go again. My basic objection to the sewerage in the water issue was that the man who was quoted in the article said (in effect) Barbados’ water meets or exceeds all WHO requirements, however if we are to maintain that standard we have these challenges to manage.

    BFP published a story about “Nutrient Enrichment” and equated NE with fecal matter in the water supplied. Further they implied that the technocrat in question had said it was a major problem and they further implied that Barbados’ water was not fit for human consumption. Which was not the truth.

    BTW the west coast sewerage project was deferred until after World Cup, due to the disruption it would have caused to traffic on the West Coast. The document you have quoted says basically the same thing. Barbados’ water supply is safe and meets WHO standards but we have challenges that we have to manage to ensure that it remains so. Also interesting in the document is the policy response section that shows there are efforts underway to manage these challenges (which would include said sewerage projects, desalination, mains replacement etc.). (BTW none of this was reflected in the BFP article in question)

    BFP As to why I associated the Barbados Forum Thread with BFP, is the post on the lower part of the thread. It seems you are using them to support your “argument” about a cash flow crisis, and they are using you to support theirs. All other sources are nebulous unnammed “sources”. When Gov’t has a cash flow crises you can find evidence all through the economy, the public sector’s role is too large for it not to show up.

    I think what you are seeing is the usual government ineptness and innefficiency, which is something that BFP SHOULD be high lighting. However I just don’t see the evidence anywhere other than BFP (and perhaps the Barbados Forum, and opposition spokesman Dr. Estwick) for a larger cash flow crunch.

  21. John

    Apologies Comment Maker.

    Must have missed the article and couldn’t find it to check what was said. BFP pulled it so I accept what you say.

    …… but, there is sewage contamination of ground water due to completely natural processes and it is present in the sea, through completely natural processes. The more development with access to running water, the higher the level will become. FACT.

    Disinfecting ground water removes bacterial contamination and keeps the Public Water Supply safe and potable. Chemical contamination levels ON AVERAGE, are within WHO accepted levels. Just remember what ON AVERAGE means.

    There was a time when many individual homes were supplied directly from wells sunk in their yards but alot has happened since then.

    I can hardly imagine someone living up Gibbons Boggs or down Rendezvous restoring a fan mill or installing an electric pump to supply their daily personal water needs although ground water can’t be too deep and in theory, it should be easy to get. Yet, this is what happened in the past.

    That’s one of the reasons why if you look at the diagrams in the report, the Public Water Supply has no supply wells in Christ Church.

    So what about Sir Allan’s comments on VAT? Is this kind of talk in the private sector making the circuit now?

  22. Comment Maker

    The speed of refunds has always been an issue with the VAT office. I know from a time when I got a VAT refund for setting up a business 2 YEARS after the business was open. This was 6 years ago. As I said this is something BFP could be highlighting, but I would chalk it up to govt being inneficient not so much a cash flow situation.

  23. John

    ….. but don’t you think $55Million is a little excessive and goes a bit beyond being an issue?

    Lord have mercy.

  24. BFP

    “BFP published a story about “Nutrient Enrichment” and equated NE with fecal matter in the water supplied. Further they implied that the technocrat in question had said it was a major problem and they further implied that Barbados’ water was not fit for human consumption. Which was not the truth.”

    Now, now, Comment Maker… there is no need stretch things. Yes, the article had some problems, but they were largely in what some readers were inferring – not what was implied. Even Titilayo, who was very aggressive with her comments, apologized for (like you) saying that we stated such and such when we did not. Go back and read the full comments to remind yourself of what was said and what happened.

    Insofar as your criticisms of other stories – Bonito Bar and Judge Cornelius – we will just have to disagree, I guess. Some readers went to the Bonito Bar and concur with our observations of sewage leakage. Have you gone to see it? Why don’t you do so and then come back and tell us what you have seen?

    As far as the Judge goes, the Central Bank’s website still lists her as a Director as of June 29, 2006 and it depends which bank employee you speak with about when or if she has formally resigned.

    The point has become not so much about whether she has resigned, but when and how things look.

    But hey, this is a country where we don’t take seriously at all that the judiciary must APPEAR to be independent. If we took those kinds of things seriously, we would not have a Chief Justice who was in government one day, and then supposed to judge the government and his old drinking buddies the next day.

    We think that matters. Comment maker doesn’t.

  25. BFP has a truth problem, some of your readers are suspicious of your reporting. I personally see you as partisan with political ties, I have said as much, what to your mind is my agenda? I have nothing to hide, I was solidily in the DLP camp with Mascoll at the helm, what has transpired with Thompy’s coup de etat and the subsequent number of qualified non political individuals who were willing to join the DLP to be rid of the BLP shelving their plans I have reluctantly but honestly concluded that Barbados is much better off with Owen and his band than with Thompy, Kellman and whatever other factions and their bands. If you don’t want to address the timing of your appearance, and the completely onesided tone of your efforts, maybe it is becuase you can’t honestly do so.

    So tell me what you think my agenda is, that may differ from what i have said.

  26. titilayo

    Warning: remarks below may contain high levels of “aggression”!

    I have been trying to avoid engaging in any further dialogue at this site (which I still do read regularly), but since my name has been called (not only here, but in other places), I feel it necessary to chip in.

    In my earlier comment, I didn’t apologize for “saying that [BFP] stated such and such when we did not”. My originally stated views and opinions of that BFP article remain unchanged. The reference and the quote that you used from that reference mentioned sources of nutrient enrichment other than sewage. My apology was for not making that clear. The BFP article (still under rewrite, apparently) did not discuss any of the other sources of nutrient enrichment, gave the impression that there is a major problem with sewage contamination of our groundwater/water supply, and went further to suggest that this conclusion was supported by (an interpretation of) the words of the BWA technocrat. It remains my opinion that this was a serious misrepresentation of the water situation in Barbados, a serious misrepresentation of what the technocrat in question actually said, and an example of rather poor journalism (citizen or otherwise). I commented once again when you posted another article about water in Barbados which contained a rather egregious error about “contaminated water pipes”, which was later edited out of the article without any reference to its removal. Again, not exactly good reporting.

    I have no issue with BFP’s agenda or lack thereof. I tend (perhaps in my naivety) not to attribute hidden agendas to people and their actions, and I have no agenda of my own to promote. I agree with the BFP that blogging, citizen journalism and their use of this medium has the potential to be very powerful, but, as the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsiblity.” BFP could stand to report a little more responsibly.

    As an aside, the BFP comments threads provide more examples of straw man arguments than a dozen logic/critical thinking textbooks put together.

  27. Comment Maker

    Thank you titilayo. Well said.

  28. BFP

    Hi Titilayo

    Perhaps the word should not have been “aggressive” but “enthusiastic”… and yes, many of your points were well founded. That people have problems with that article is fine, and we responded and left the comments there for the record.

    But of the 301 articles we have posted in the last six months, a very few of our online readers tend to focus entirely on that one article – to the exclusion of pretty well all else. To read their comments, one would think that there were dozens of articles with mis-statements – not just a position they disagreed with. A detailed list would be nice.

    Some make grandiose statements about our credibility without getting into real details – and some mis-state our words so regularly that it becomes a daily chore to ensure they don’t post yet another un-rebutted straw man.

    As to our political affiliations, we’ve already replied to that in detail. Adrian continues to post that he has some special inside knowledge that we are DLP (even naming a name!) and that he will reveal all at the right time.

    And even if we all know that it is more cow pasture, we have let him continue in the interest of openess and transparency. If we can’t have it in the Barbados government, we try our best here.

    But after what Adrian said about Shona on another post, he is hereby on notice. Mind your tongue, Adrian. We expect and demand that you conduct yourself as a gentleman while a guest at Barbados Free Press.

  29. titilayo

    The issue with BFP’s credibility, to my mind, is this. I come to Barbados Free Press and I read your posts, and their reporting and analysis. I (and this is perhaps part naivety and part intellectual laziness on my part) take them at face value, i.e. I tend to assume, where topics are discussed that I am unfamiliar with, that the portrayal of the situation under discussion is informed and accurate.

    However, when articles are posted where I know enough about the topic to realise that the BFP portrayal of the situation is not accurate, it does lead me to wonder whether there are similar flaws in reporting and analysis in other articles on the BFP blog, flaws I fail to recognise because I am not sufficiently informed to do so, i.e. it leads me to the consider the possibility that there are, in fact, “dozens of articles with mis-statements” that I haven’t noticed because I don’t know any better. It introduces a certain level of (healthy?) scepticism about BFP’s reliability as an “Insider’s Guide Blog to Barbados Life, Politics, Travel, Offshore Investments, Crime & Corruption”, and it taints, if ever so slightly, BFP’s credibility.

    However this does not mean that I think the BFP is full of lies, nor that the BFP intentionally deceives its readers (despite what Adrian may say). I give you every credit for the best of intentions, and I certainly don’t fault or discredit you for espousing positions I disagree with. All I’m saying is that attention should be paid to accuracy, and perhaps moderation, in reporting, by BFP, as by any other media outlet interested in preserving/sustaining its reputation.

    To my comment about straw men, I add also ignoratio elenchi and more specifically red herrings (and I don’t mean the kind you eat with cou-cou).

  30. titilayo

    Is there a particular reason why my comment above is subject to moderation?

  31. BFP

    Hi Titilayo

    If a comment has more than one link, the WordPress programme holds it for moderation because it might be one of the fifty or so spams we get a day.

    If none of us are online, it has to wait until someone fires up their computer to look at the moderation que. Nothing sinister, my love. 🙂

    Clive

  32. BFP

    An I am sure Marcus will comment on your comment when he is finishing changing the diapers tonight. ha ha!

  33. titilayo

    You mean I’m not considered a dangerous and subversive element among the commenters at BFP? Stirring up trouble and fomenting revolt and all that? Well, darn, I’m disappointed!

    Seriously though, it might be helpful to post the spam protection/moderation policy somewhere on the site, perhaps at the head of each comments section; I’ve seen it done at other sites and thought it was quite useful both for information and for letting commenters know how to structure their remarks so as to minimise the need for moderation. Also, do hosted WordPress blogs allow comment preview? That would be a handy feature as well.

    Bless to Marcus and the diaper changing. Enjoy!

  34. BFP

    Hi Titilayo

    Good point about posting a moderation and spam policy. Not sure about comment preview, but we will look it up and talk about everything at the Sunday meeting this week.

    thx

    Clive

  35. John

    Titilayo:

    “The BFP article (still under rewrite, apparently) did not discuss any of the other sources of nutrient enrichment, gave the impression that there is a major problem with sewage contamination of our groundwater/water supply, and went further to suggest that this conclusion was supported by (an interpretation of) the words of the BWA technocrat.”

    It is a fact that sewage contaminates groundwater. Happens all over the world.

    It is a fact that this contamination occurs during the natural process called the hydrologic cycle.

    It is a fact that in Barbados, zoning will protect areas around water wells and minimise bacterial contamination but will not impact on chemical contamination.

    Ground water in Barbados is disinfected with chlorine when it is extracted. I think it actually happens in the well, but am not absolutely sure. This is to remove, or reduce any bacterial contamination which may be present. The zoning around wells is supposed to keep the bacterial levels to an acceptable minimum level.

    The heavier the development outside the zone 1 area around wells, (or within it) the higher the minimum level of bacterial contamination which will occur. In theory, there must come a point when the sewage load will render a well unsuitable for public water supply. Its volume will be removed from the natural limit imposed by the amount of rainfall and the actual catchment area supplying the well.

    At the moment, to the best of my knowledge, disinfected ground water is delivered to customers of BWA with faecal coliform levels well below WHO limits. Check out this report on the web.

    http://www.centrogeo.org.mx/unep/documentos/Barbados/BARBADOSagua.pdf

    I do not recall reading the article on Nutrient Enrichment and entered the discussion I think after the article was pulled. However if the issue is whether ground water is contaminated with sewage, …. it is, and also agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals etc. etc..

  36. Biscoe

    Wow! Looks like I’ve missed quite a storm since my last visit.

    A few points to ponder. The reason for the construction of the approximately$90 million (not hundreds of millions John) South Coast Sewerage System was the necessity to protect the near shore marine environment from sewage entering the sea during high tide. Many hotels, supermarkets etc on the South Coast had problems of overflowing septic wells at high tide and in fact spent thousands of dollars with the honey dippers to remove the excess. As you can imagine the reefs on the South Coast have been affected, as are the ones on the West Coast where there is the additional problem of agricultural run off.

    Anyone who was around during the construction of the South Coast Sewerage System will remember the horrible smells of sewage during the laying of the pipes and sub-surface tunnelling. In fact many people thought the system had been breached long before construction was completed, because of the smell. Simply put if you dug deep enough anywhere on the south coast before the system was installed you would come into contact with contaminated ground water, particulary during high tide. You know the old saying that water will find its level. Well ask yourselves where the water in sewage wells was supposed to go. So kudos to the government for trying to clean up the environment along these highly populated coastal corridors. The West Coast version is now scheduled for post-CWC as Comment Maker rightly says.

    Apart from the health threat to humans swimming in contaminated water, dead or dying reefs do not provide a reliable barrier in times of unusual tidal activity (storm surges etc) and will leave our coastline susceptible to erosion beyond the normal cyclical activity we witnessed recently on the south and west coasts.

    Coastal areas are NOT a source of drinking water. Hence these systems are not constructed to protect our water supply, but our near shore marine environment.

    As far as VAT refunds being an indicator of central government’s solvency, this is clearly more BFP cow pasture. It is an indicator of bad management by the bureaucrats and inadequate forecasting of the resources needed to keep the department functioning efficiently in an expanding economy. The Minister of Finance and his technocrats ought to have been in a position to predict the strain this would have placed on the department before it reached crisis proportions. So no gold star for the PM and his team on this.

    But this is symptomatic of a greater malaise in the way central government has evolved in recent years. There appears to be far too great a reliance on the Ministry of Finance as the engine of government and the pistons are starting to mis-fire. Maybe this Ministry has itself become too thin on the ground. Or perhaps the pendulum has simply swung too far over to the counter-productive side of the spectrum.

    The signs are there if you look for them and understand how government works. Just look at the number of financial policy initiatives that take years to come on stream. So reduce the centralization Owen and give some autonomy back to the satellite Ministries.

    As for the questions raised about BFP’s alleged agenda, I realized a long time ago that there really is no such thing as a free press – free from bias that is – and BFP is no different in this regard. So don’t be surprised fellow bloggers. Everyone brings their own bias to the discussion. What disappoints me about BFP is the unsubstantiated rumour masquerading as facts that it posts in the so called interest of truth. But worse than this is the tone of some of its pieces. Nasty and petty would be understatements. Marcus and the BFP crew may think this style effective in your quest for high hit rates, but it has caused me to view your blog as entertainment, not information. So now whenever I have spare time on my hands I log in and laugh. But don’t mind me. I am only one Bajan who can separate the cow manure from the cow. And I guess that even cow manure has a value.

  37. John

    Biscoe

    Doesn’t matter whether there is low or high tide. Sewage is in the groundwater and the natural hydrological pressure gradient will drive the ground water, along with the sewage into the sea. This is a completely natural process, all secondaryschool stuff.

    If high tide caused the sewage wells to overflow, it would mean the hotels are built below sea level. Their yards would appear like Graeme Hall Swamp which after all, is ground water exposed because areas of the swamp are below sea level. I am told there are springs in there as well. I will check some reports and see what I can find. There is a good aerial photo of Graeme Hall Swamp in an article ran by BFP which would help readers visualise what is going on.

    I am pretty sure your figure of the $90 million actually spent is low. Do you have any sources? In any case, if you count the inefficient use of people’s time stuck in traffic, lost business and businesses that closed you may find I am actually being ultra conservative.

    I remain unconvinced that $55 million is just inefficiency!! Perhaps that is peanuts to you but to me it seems like an awfully large sum.

    Even the $4.6 million that’s gone down the drain at the new Cotton Ginnery seems alot to me. Do we have the makings of another Carsicott here? Love the verbal imagery of the Nation Article headlines yesterday. Its all related to sewage and fits right in here!!!!

  38. John

    Trivia: Did you know that sewage from some parts of the US is highly valued as a fertiliser because of the diet of the people in the area? Not only Cow Manure has a value!!

  39. John

    Here is what the 1946 Senn Report says:

    “In the coastal district between Amity Lodge and Graeme Hall, the surface by descending below sea level, cuts the ground water table, giving rise to several springs (Amity Lodge, Graeme Hall Swamp)”

    Senn is available in the Public Library.

  40. John

    Biscoe

    This story about septic tank overflow at hotels, supermarkets etc. at high tide keeps bothering my mind. Did it also happen at private residences as well?

    My problem is that I just can’t remember any howls of protest that such an occurrence would have caused. If High tide was to blame and all the septic tanks on the South Coast had overflowed, all hell would have let loose.

    Had it been as you suggest, businesses would have been thankful and not complained for the inconvenience of the disruptions as they did in fact do.

    My take on the South Coast Sewage Project is that it was necessary because of natural processes. Its success or failure will be determined by how far inland it is taken.

    If as it stands now the travel time of bacteria from areas not covered by the system to the nearshore waters is sufficient to reduce the bacterial content to such a level that it won’t affect the reefs (what’s left of them) then it should be successful.

    But, if the sewage load from developments further inland than the area covered by the sewage system is too high, it won’t have been successful. It should however reduce the impact.

    Have you seen any data on water testing before and after the sewage system was installed and has the level of faecal coliform been reduced, and if so, by how much and to what level? Don’t you think the Government should publish this data?

    With regard to agricultural runoff on the west coast, take a turn through St. James and tell me how much agriculture you see. I would be surprised if you find more than 10 sugar cane fields.

    What you will find is golf courses, growing grass, which some have argued is agriculture but I think that is stretching it!!

  41. Biscoe

    John;

    I only know about sewage problems at hotels and supermarkets. From as early as the 80’s when I worked at a hotel in Maxwell there were problems with the wells overflowing at high tide. More recently I know someone in the sewage business so I know the properties they used to pump.

    Long term the hotels will save money from connection to the system, but do not forget that initially they had the capital cost of connecting to the system and the inconvenience to their guests. In fact some properties had cancellations as a result of the work in Dover/St. Lawrence. You may be aware that British law places the onus on tour operators to notify travellers beforehand of any inconveniences of this nature on pain of refunding the cost of the holiday.

    And there is also the ongoing charge for connection to the system – a percentage of the water bill – but I believe that long term for those properties that had a big problem it will be cheaper to be hooked up to the system.

    With regard to run off on the West Coast ( I did not specify St. James) this starts high up in St. Thomas and along the St. Andrew ridge, so do not discount it. In addition, golf courses use fertilizers too.

  42. John

    Biscoe

    The only plantation I think you will find in St. Thomas which still grows sugar is Applewaithes and this is in the belle Catchment and does not affect the west Coast. This was a huge shock to me whenI went and looked.

    Dukes, Content, Ridgeway, Blowers, Dunscombe, Canefield and parts of Vaucluse will affect the West Coast. Mangrove Pond has its special effect. No sugar on any of these. Some pasture and Cows on Dunscombe and Canefield.

    You refer to the St. Andrew ridge. Apes Hill is going to Golf course and residential and Springhead is out of sugar, some horses are there and pastures.

    That would leave Rock Hall, Four Hills, Mangrove, Orange Hill, Welchtown and , I think that’s about it. Black Bess is out of sugar and last I heard was to go to Golf Course and Sion Hill and Taitts I think seem to be going residential, ditto Mount Brevitor.

    Lower down in St. Peter, Bakers, Warleigh and Heymans are still in sugar from what I remember. White Hall is out as is Ashton Hall.

    Hope I got the plantations right.

  43. John

    Try googling “golf courses” and groundwater and see what you find.

  44. titilayo

    John:

    Thanks for your post. I am familiar with the information you posted, and I think your contributions to the discussion on water here have been informative and well balanced. I am not the only person who has remarked that there are certainly things to be concerned about with regards to Barbados’s water situation, and plenty of subject matter for BFP articles. Maybe you could be a contributing writer for them in that regard!

    As for the article, you didn’t see it, and it’s not there anymore so the specifics can’t be registered, and I think we (or at least I) have spent way too much time on it, as it is. What I know is that it was neither the first time nor the last that I have read articles on BFP that were questionable either in their reporting or in their analysis. My aim in pointing out these situations has not been to cry down or pull down BFP; I have intended it as constructive (though it has perhaps not been gentle!) criticism). I hope it was received in this spirit.

  45. John

    titilayo

    The facts can speak for themselves. Sometimes a little sarcasm or weighting (exaggeration) helps but where this issue is concerned, the bald facts do not lie. The sad thing is that many people have forgotten or disregard what they learnt at school.

    We should be deeply concerned about water quantity and quality. The natural processes are well known, but many do not realise they play out right before their eyes and their effects are easily explicable.

    I believe that much of our so called development exacerbates an extremely dangerous situation and that decisions about development are being taken to make numbers look good and not for the long term benefit of our country.

    In my eyes both political parties are guilty of flawed decisions. I need only point to Westmoreland, or as many Bajans refer to it, Waste-more-land, and now Apes Hill.

    I wish inefficiency or incompetence explained away all the ills in the society but the more I see the more I dread good old fashioned backsheesh is the natural explanation. The symptons of outstanding VAT refunds, income tax missing money, insurance companies reporting fraud, etc. is extremely worrying.

    I try as far as possible where water is concerned to stick to facts, but as I stated, I do have a bias, I want what is best for my country, regardless of the political party in power.

    I hope the disrespect I feel for both parties comes across as my bias. Guess I was not meant to be a party animal.