Barbados Underground (BU) condemns the malicious act by agents using social media platforms to propagate the message that the new water meter installed by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is responsible for the sudden deaths that have caused Barbadians alarm in recent weeks. Barbadians everywhere must have breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday when the BWA issued a press release to dispel the false claim. The BWA’s message was supported by the Acting Chief Medical Officer who indicated that “…preliminary reports indicate that recent sudden deaths in Barbados were linked to “the usual causes of sudden death in Barbados and universally…acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, brain haemorrhage, acute pulmonary embolism (clotting in the lungs) and acute arrhythmia.”
The unfortunate incident affords the BU household the opportunity to offer a few observations.
Why did the government through its state agency the BWA require 72 hours to issue a press release to attack the vicious rumour? In the absence of a decisive communication strategy by the government and the BWA the rumour trended to an unproductive national discussion. We acknowledge that the BWA’s Communications Specialist issued a statement a couple days ago. We also acknowledge she promised that the BWA would have held press conference.
Why has the BWA with its state of the art headquarters on the hill not posted the press release on its company website? If there is another BWA website BU will retract. If the vicious rumour originated on social media why does the BWA not update its Facebook page as a good strategy to counter? Guess what, the BWA does NOT have an active Facebook page. If the late prime minister David Thompson were alive he would have instructed his people to share the press release with BU. He understood a little about managing information in the social media space.There is a lot the Stuart led government can learn from Joseph Goebbels who was a minister in Hitler’s administration.
To date we have had the BWA management condemning the vicious rumour. Chief Medical Officer George has supported the BWA’s position based on preliminary reports. Guess what, the Democratic Labour Party through its General Secretary George Pilgrim has started another rumour. In a media release yesterday Pilgrim hinted that the water rumour is possibly politically motivated to make the government look bad. If Pilgrim has evidence to support his ‘insinuation’’ BU urge him to take the evidence to the DPP.
Read full text of the BWA’s release:-
Over the last few days, erroneous reports have been circulating in the social media, suggesting that there have been sudden deaths associated with lead from the new HYDRUS Ultrasonic water meters.
We want to assure our customers that there is no lead contamination of our water supply from the new meters or any other device attached to the water supply network. It should be noted that the procurement of these meters followed stringent guidelines, consultation and approval of the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI). We have found no proof of their being rejected anywhere.
In addition, the meters: –
- Are made out of plastic and brass connections that DO NOT contain lead.
- Are manufactured in Germany and have been tested and approved for use in the water supply industry for metering of cold potable water and hot water by the German Environmental Agency under the German Drinking Water Ordinance of December 2013.
- Meet or exceed the following specifications and testing methods as well as those in the following Standards: OIML R 49-1 Edition 2006 (E) and ISO 4064-1:2005(E)/BS EN 14154-1:2005 +A1:2007(E) Class C and Class E1 specifications including all annexes.
- Are also currently being used in the following twenty-two (22) countries: –
Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, China, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Guinea and South Africa.
The Barbados Water Authority is charged with the responsibility of providing water and sewerage services as well as the monitoring, controlling, managing and protecting the water resources in the public’s interest.
We take this mandate very seriously and over the years, we have provided and continue to supply safe drinking water that exceeds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Drinking Water Guidelines and we have adhered to other appropriate industry standards in the choice of materials and equipment used in designing, constructing and operating of the entire water supply infrastructure.
The Barbados Water Authority in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), Ministry of Environment and Drainage and the Environmental Health Inspectorate of the Ministry of Health have a very comprehensive and long standing water quality monitoring program. This programme involves the bacteriological and chemical testing and analysis of water samples through the Government Analytical Services Laboratory and MDS Laboratories in Florida.
In addition, wide screen analysis of water samples is done on a bi-annual basis and includes testing for heavy metals and pesticides. The most recent samples were done in March 2016. Results from the water quality tests and analysis done over the years, show that the lead content in our water is below detection limits and meets the allowable drinking water standards. The analysis of the water samples is done through accredited laboratories. Furthermore, our water is classified as hard and tends to form a carbonate precipitate inside the pipes that would prevent lead leaching.
We again assure the public that the new HYDRUS Ultrasonic Water Meter manufactured by DIEHL Metering is free of lead and water provided by the Barbados Water Authority is safe to drink. (END)