Thursday 27 February, 2020

FFOS calls for truth on Government's contract with DESALCOTT

The Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has called on Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte to hold more public consultations on the future of the nation’s water supply. FFOS further demanded more transparency from the Government on its dealings with DESALCOTT.

This follows the recent revelation by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who, at the Standing Finance Committee on Monday, said Government is negotiating another loan, this time to pay for the yearly 500MTTD purchase of potable water from DESALCOTT. Dr Rowley had also stated that an expanded contract with DESALCOTT “has bankrupted WASA permanently”.

The conservation group contends, however, that there are numerous reasons why WASA has been bankrupted. This includes the utility’s failure to meter, ageing pipeline infrastructure and overstaffing.

In light of these and other challenges, the FFOS wants the Government to disclose its future plans for water sustainability.

“Given the overall lack of water conservation or containment incentives, practices and education awareness programmes, what are Government plans to wean off the public’s thirst for and increasing dependence on DESALCOTT?”

The NGO also raised concerns as to why the state’s contract with DESALCOTT has been renewed.

“According to the DESALCOTT website, WASA contracted DESALCOTT in 1999 for a period of twenty (20) years. That contract would have expired this year! Can Mr Rowley inform the public why this contract was renewed prior to its expiration, by whom, and what cost to the public purse?”

Meanwhile, reiterating its call for transparency, the FFOS said the future generation would be forced to pay the price for the Government’s failure.

“Unless Cabinet is willing to change its ways and act with complete transparency and inclusion and until Cabinet stops all of the secret contract deals, our children will continue to suffer the long term degradation of a failed state. Year by year, government after government, every single institution is becoming weaker and less able to stand on its own shaky feet.”

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