Days after the Water and Sewerage Corporation’s (WSC) water supply and sewerage systems on New Providence were sabotaged, the corporation announced yesterday that a list of all WSC employees with access to the corporation’s valve keys will be handed over to police.
In a statement, the WSC board of directors said the corporation will also hire private security to man its major pumping stations and install concealed cameras near its valves.
“WSC is the sole local manufacturer of the valve keys,” the board said.
“The valve keys are made on-site at WSC and can only be accessed by WSC personnel. We have directed the [general manager] to request all staff in possession of valve keys to turn them in.
“Moreover, the corporation will be giving the police a list of all persons who were in possession of valve keys to assist in their investigations. Going forward, the use of valve keys will be more strictly controlled and monitored.”
Around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, water supply went off in several areas of New Providence, impacting households, Princess Margaret Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Baha Mar and many businesses.
Several areas had supply restored by 6 a.m.
The board said sewer stations and lift stations were “also tampered with and fuses were removed from control panels, which prohibited the start-up of pumps and thereby resulted in sewerage overflows”.
“Additional controls and policies are being implemented relative to the control room [including] the hiring and assignment of private security to the major pumping stations and heightened monitoring of valves, including the use of concealed cameras and other technologies, which would complement the current system,” the statement said.
The board described the incident as “criminal” and said it was “committed by persons who clearly lack integrity and a real commitment to WSC”.
“We will not stand for any behavior that causes WSC to come into disrepute nor would we stand by and condone any form of defamation or alleged criminal conduct,” the board said.
“The board of directors remains steadfast and hopeful of fostering a harmonious work environment; [bringing] about real change in the public’s interest, and executing a reformist agenda. Gone are the days when it was business as usual.”
In a post on his Facebook page Tuesday night, WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson alleged that members of the Bahamas Utilities Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU) were involved with the disruption.
However, BUSAWU has denied the allegation.
The board noted that, “Much like previous issues, the corporation does not make baseless accusations against employees to instill discipline upon them.
“Any disciplinary action usually follows a period of internal and or external investigation and deliberation.”
On Tuesday, BUSAWU President Dwayne Woods and union members demonstrated a “withdrawal of enthusiasm” outside of WSC’s Thompson Boulevard headquarters.
Their concerns were that executives were attempting to minimize the influence of the representative trade union by blatantly disrespecting, intimidating, victimizing and discriminating against union members.
According to Woods, one of the union’s primary concerns was the recent five-day suspension of a union member for leaving his personal vehicle on WSC grounds over the weekend.
The board said that following a meeting on Wednesday, “the chairman directed the GM to reduce the earlier suspension by two days”.
The board said most of its employees did not participate in Tuesday’s “uncertified and illegitimate strike”.
“Of a full staff complement of nearly 440, we are pleased to note that nearly 90 percent of staff remained at their posts and, notably, nearly all of our 70 managers stayed put,” it said.
The management of WSC, BUSAWU and the director labor will meet at the Department of Labour on Monday at 11 a.m. in an attempt to bring a resolution to the issues between the union and the corporation.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice