According to media reports Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resource Management Dr David Estwick has scheduled a press conference for later today (07.10.2016). Estwick has been the target of severe criticism because of the inability of the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) to achieve its mandate to deliver potable water to ALL Barbadians.
One hopes that Estwick will treat Barbadians with respect AND assume an empathetic posture later today by leaving his usual blustery and bombastic approach at Hoodies’ door. BU agrees with Dr. George Belle that the ongoing water crisis will have political implications for the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) when the bell is rung for the next general election. It does not take evidence-based analysis to determine how long suffering residents in the areas of Barbados affected by water shortages will place their X.
One has to wonder what motivated Estwick to state recently, he intends to treat the water issue as a national problem in response to the question why he has not reached out to residents of the most affected areas. He is technically correct to say his mandate must be national in focus, BUT, the reality is that there is an area in the North of Barbados that is being affected. Any sensible politician should appreciate the need to establish an ’empathetic connection’ with the affected residents.
Human beings cannot survive without water – the infrequent supply to areas of Barbados has served to increase the level of stress of residents in the affected areas. This is an important observation in the context of a Barbados gripped in a protracted economic crisis for the the last eight years. And there is no light at the end of the tunnel!
BU and others have written voluminously about the water problems afflicting Barbados. The poor management; communication, planning etc. Residents in the affected areas must be grateful in 2016 to be receiving the many gifts of water. The many acts of kindness must be commended BUT it does not absolve the BWA and David Estwick from the responsibility of ensuring ALL Barbadians receive water at the tap. One wonders why the simple task of maintaining supplies to the community water tanks is not being achieved. Why rapid response teams are not being satisfactorily mobilized to fix burst pipes. Why we cannot manage efficient customer contact centre operations to respond to dissatisfied subscribers. Proactive communication alerts via ALL channels. The website of the BWA is wholly inadequate in 2016, there is no visible Facebook and Twitter presence to efficiently exploit the digital platform in a country with deep Internet penetration.
The BU household will join many concerned Barbadians later today to listen to Minister David Estwick. Our expectation is that he will leave the political rhetoric for the political platform and deal with how his ministry plans to relieve the suffering of Barbadians in the North of the island.