APUA managers, supervisors and minister reportedly hauled over the coals over continued complaints about water shortage
As residents complain of being without pipe-borne water for days and weeks on end, the Cabinet continues to pressure officials at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) to distribute the commodity.
Again, APUA’s General and Water Managers, along with two supervisors, were summoned to meet with the Executive on Wednesday, November 2. Reportedly, they were asked to give answers about the persistent water problem and read the riot act by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
These officials are responsible for managing the distribution of the seven million gallons of potable water generated daily by the reverse osmosis plants.
According to sources, says REAL News Correspondent George Wehner, the Minister responsible for APUA, Sir Robin Yearwood, also received an earful from the Cabinet Chairman.
Wehner says the APUA managers, supervisors and Minister were ordered to have the water problem fixed by the end of this month, so that the date of the General Elections can be announced.
According to the Cabinet Notes, APUA has indicated that no community should be without piped water for longer than two days.
However, several communities complain that water is sometimes unavailable for four and five days at a time, while others say their “drought period” has stretched into weeks.
As a result of the discussions with Cabinet, APUA has pledged to implement systems that would more closely monitor the communities that are supplied or deprived of water.
Reportedly, persons were employed and trained to open and close the valves which supply or divert water to and from different communities, and they are required to share their daily findings in a daily written report.
According to the Notes, “There were clearly differences between what was reported to the APUA management and what was reported to the parliamentary representatives.”
A source says she finds this to be a peculiar statement, given that APUA workers should report to their direct supervisors and managers and not to a Member of Parliament.
She says it is unfair for the Cabinet to pressure APUA’s management and staff to correct in months what they could not achieve in years. She also blames the Executive – and not the workers – for failing to supply the equipment required to maintain the plants.
“If the polls show that the Labour Party is leading in all 17 constituencies, then [the Prime Minister] should call the elections and not wait for the water problem to be fixed,” the woman says.