Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday it would be “hypocritical” for Cabinet to approve Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson’s request to allow the recommencement of disconnections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, WSC placed an indefinite moratorium on water disconnections.
On Wednesday, Gibson told The Tribune that the corporation was seeking permission from the government to recommence disconnection exercises.
In a separate interview that day, Gibson told The Nassau Guardian that the corporation was in dire straits, adding that the company has faced a 31 percent decline in cash collection.
Yesterday, in a statement, Davis said, “The Cabinet of The Bahamas made a policy decision to suspend water disconnection exercises by the Water and Sewerage Corporation in the wake of COVID-19, so the request by the executive chairman of WSC to recommence disconnection exercises has to be seen as a moot point.
“The country is in the middle of the worst phase of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, where infections are on the increase and water disconnections at this critical juncture would make it more difficult for thousands of Bahamians to sanitize their hands, bodies and surfaces, potentially worsening the community spread of the virus.
“Additionally, a Cabinet approval would contradict the initial policy intent of the government that the competent authority said was driven by science and send a wrong and confusing message to the general public.”
He questioned how the government would justify disconnecting delinquent WSC customers when government agencies also owe money to the corporation.
“A Cabinet approval would appear duplicitous and hypocritical on the face of it,” Davis said.
“The cash shortfalls the corporation’s chairman is complaining about are common in many households under these very challenging economic conditions.”
Gibson has said that WSC receivables from the government currently stand at almost $8 million.
He said it made a $5 million payment in March.
As of August, WSC has a $30.8 million backlog of supplier payments, according to Gibson.