The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), has expressed concern about the travel and health advisories issued by the governments of the United States and Canada to their citizens in light of the sewage mess along this island’s south coast.
In a statement late Wednesday, following a meeting with the Barbados Water Authority (BWA), the BHTA said the advisories underscored the need for urgent remedial action to solve the ongoing problem.
“The travel and health advisories which have been issued as a caution, though regrettable, reiterate what we have been trying to avoid by urging heightened and more urgent action.The BHTA regrets that our members, staff, guests and residents have had to endure this failure to manage the challenges of the sewerage system,” said BHTA, adding that “it is our belief that this matter must engage those at the highest level and all resources required must be made available immediately”.
The BHTA’s Chief Executive Officer Rudy Grant, said the BWA gave the assurance that the work to rectify the situation will be completed within three months.
“In the meantime, it is expected that they will continue the current short-term mitigating measures to provide relief to businesses and residents in the affected areas.
“It is critical, particularly as a result of the advisories issued, that there is constant assessment and review of the short term measures implemented, to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of this situation. It is imperative that every possible action is taken to safeguard brand Barbados and the wellbeing of Barbadians, residents and visitors,” Grant said.
On Wednesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada, issued the safety and security warning, advising its residents to avoid the affected area, while the US issued a health alert telling its citizens to “avoid water activities in the affected areas” along the south coast and to “beware of sewage on the streets”.
Last month, investigations conducted by the BWA and consultants from Trinidad and Tobago revealed that a breach in the south coast sewage network was responsible for overflows.
The BWA then said it was working assiduously to address the situation by flushing blocked lines, installing a sewage bypass and putting measures in place for the reactivation of the Lift Station on the outskirts of the capital, in order to facilitate the connection of the south coast sewage network to the one in the city.