Submitted by John Dillinger
See link to Report by the Auditor General of the Special Audit into the BWA commissioned by Minister of Finance.
What is the role of the former Prime Minister David Thompson appointing Executive Chairman, Arni Walters in all these infelicities highlighted by the Special Audit?
Where is Mr. Walters now? Why has he so quietly disappeared from the frontline of the DLP Administration?
Can charges be laid for these infelicities in the procurement process at the BWA?
Why was this special audit commissioned by Minister Sinckler to cover the post-2008 period of administration at the BWA? Who was the minister with responsibility for the BWA at that time?
More questions than answers……
In similar vein, last year Minister Sinckler announced at a hastily called Press Conference at Almond Bay one Sunday afternoon that he would commission a Special Audit of the UWI with regards to claims by the UWI of funds owing to that institution by the Government of Barbados. Was that audit ever done?
On a related note:
There was the Barbados Advocate headline ” BWA facing water service challenges“
The article says that Dr. John Mwansa, Engineering Manager at the BWA was delivering a presentation called “Barbados’ Water Service Challenges” where it is reported that he said limited access to finance, an ageing infrastructure in need of replacement and unaccounted for water levels or non-revenue water are amongst the challenges to maintaining good water quality in Barbados.
Dr Mwansa went on to say that “we have very limited access to finance, so in terms of the solutions that we have to implement, we have to look for the options that will give us the best bang for our money”
He continued “We have an ageing infrastructure in need of replacement and in case you didn’t know, water utilities are the most capital intensive of all the utilities. Unfortunately, most of our infrastructure is below ground, so people don’t see the extent of the infrastructure that we have and what you are paying for”
Dr. Mwansa also revealed that the level of water unaccounted for is relatively high and is now estimated at around 49%. The rates charged for water are also not adequate to cover all the operating expenses and capital investment requirements, he suggested.
Reading this article made me VERY angry as a subscriber to BWA’s “services”. Am not really certain if we can describe what they provide as service. But I digress. Can someone please explain why in times of immense hardship, Barbadians were made to suffer the imposition of a 60% increase in water rates by way of a Budget from the former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance by way of his dictate in his 2009 Budget presentation? Why are we Barbadians being asked to compensate for water that is being lost to the tune of 49%. That’s literally half of all water produced and pumped by the BWA being “lost” and cannot realize revenues for the BWA. Why has not the BWA been brought under the rate application and hearing mechanism of the Fair Trading Commission as has been the Barbados Light & Power Company and Cable & Wireless trading as LIME? Why is the BWA’s Engineering manager Dr John Mwansa complaining about a lack of finance to implement solutions? So exactly where did the 60% increase water rates go since July 2009.
The Prime Minster in his 2009 Budget presentation stated that revenues generated from the then existing water rates were insufficient to cover the costs of providing water and wastewater services. He added that it was not enough to maintain the then existing level of service and it had become necessary to increase water rates.
In his previous Budget speech in 2008, he stated that within the next 2 years, the BWA would prepare itself to come under the rigours of accountability under the FTC so that water and sewerage charges may be determined at levels that are fair to consumers and the BWA alike and remove the large burden that Government now carries in subsidizing water and sewerage rates for all persons in society.
Fast forward to some 4 years hence in 2012. Where are the improvements we were promised in service from the BWA from incurring the 60% increase in water rates? Where is the transparency in setting of water rates by having the BWA face the FTC for setting its water rates? Fellow Barbadians, someone needs to account to us for this deception which was brought down on us for which we are forced to pay for. Is it a case that we as consumers are being forced to pay for inefficiencies in the procurement process at the BWA which has been subject to questionable practices?