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Gibson says water supplier threatened to shut off water on other islands

Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson said yesterday that threats by private companies to cut off water supplies to Bahamian communities are unacceptable, noting that the same company that shut off the water supply to Central Eleuthera last week has threatened the same on other islands.

“This company has a history of conducting themselves in a manner which can harm the Bahamian people,” Gibson said in the House of Assembly yesterday.

“On at least five occasions, the company’s general manager has callously threatened to disrupt the water supply to the Bahamian public.

“In a letter sent to us a few months ago, he threatened the water supply to Eleuthera, San Salvador and Inagua. Mr. Speaker, even now in the face of all that they have done, to them, it is still all about the money.”

Gibson added, “Any threat to disconnect any island of this country is beyond the pale. We have had similar threats in South Eleuthera and being told that in order to increase water output, we would have to sign a two-year contract extension, increase guaranteed amounts and pay more money.

“…It speaks to a lack of conscience.”

Gibson told The Guardian on Sunday that WSC was forced to acquire an injunction Thursday night after its water supplier in Central Eleuthera cut production because of a disagreement about arrears. 

He said yesterday that WSC has paid the company roughly $4 million in payments for the year. He said $700,000 was transferred to the water supplier in the days before the water supply was shut off, and $1 million had been paid to the supplier in September.

Gibson condemned the actions of the company as “inhumane”, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Eleuthera has the fifth-highest COVID numbers,” he said.

“Given that, and the fact that we are facing the worst pandemic in the last 100 years, a pandemic where clean water and the maintenance of good hygiene is paramount, we were stunned when one of our reverse osmosis operators of foreign origin deliberately and egregiously shut off the water supply to the people of Central Eleuthera.

“Such is especially condemnatory.

“It is beyond cold and callous.

“It is simply inhumane and a flagrant and barbaric atrocity against the people of The Bahamas, and most especially the people of Central Eleuthera.”

Gibson said the government will do everything it can to ensure access to water for Bahamians.

“Please note that we will take every action to protect you and your rights to have access to water,” he said.

“We will not do anything outside of the law. We will get the best legal advice.”

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