Prime Minister Dr.Keith Rowley says he will do whatever is necessary to fix the problems at the Water and Sewerage Authority(WASA). The problems include the transmission and distribution of water as well as management of the workforce and equipment.
However, the Government is not considering privatising the State enterprise.
He was speaking on Tobago Channel 5’s morning talk show with Deryck Brathwaite (Brother B) on Thursday.
“ Whatever has to be done so that the output is an improvement of the supply of water to the people, the Government will consider. However, at this time, we are not considering any privatization, “ Rowley said.
He said if anyone reads WASA’s report on its operations, they will get “angry” as it was “a feeding trough for the privilege” and “corrupt to the core.”
He added: “There are people who live off fixing holes in WASA, one road. They buy a backhoe, and they fix it for life. The same whole they dig this week they are digging it back next month for sure. Of course, if you see a leak, put your clock, that leak is not going to be dealt with until Friday evening or Sunday night.”
He said the costs doubled and tripled for work done on Fridays and weekends, respectively.
He continued: “Anything that is bad that could go wrong is going on at WASA…The first thing that has to happen is that you have to put people in there who would set about to treat those issues as best they can.”
He said when his Government took office in 2015, it diagnosed the problems at the authority. Within months there were two fires in the public utility’s record-keeping department.
“Remember there was the fire, and when the first fire did not burn it (records) enough, they came and burn it again,” he said/
Asked whether the Government is considering implementing a meter system for consumers to pay for the water they use, he said it is not a priority.
“On the question of metering, you can’t have a situation where people are not getting water at all or getting it sporadically and then you meter them…As we improve the supply, we then can improve the situation by way of metering,” the Prime Minister said.
Rowley said metering customers would cost the Government “$2 billion.”
Last year, Rowley appointed a Cabinet sub-committee to examine WASA’s operations and make recommendations. Since then, the Government has appointed an executive director -Dr. Lennox Sealy.
He also retains the post of chairman.