Prime Minister David Thompson, addressing staff of the Barbados Water Authority earlier this year. (FP)????

There is a need to establish a project or reform unit as an adjunct to the existing management structure at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA).

This view was expressed recently by Prime Minister David Thompson, as he announced the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IADB) Country Strategy with Barbados for 2009-2013.

Mr. Thompson lamented the length of time that had passed in the restructuring of the BWA, noting that the work that needed to be done had been identified over 15 years ago. He said it had been a mistake to assume that the Authority, with its limited capacity would have been able to undertake both the capital projects and institutional change.

"It is clear that that is not going to happen. That may not be the fault of the administrators; it may simply be that it is an impossible task. Therefore, we need to find a way in which we can undertake major reforms at the BWA and integrate them into the overall institution, so that it is not viewed as a separate programme and, so, that coming out of the entire exercise, we have a strengthened, more relevant BWA," he opined.

The Prime Minister stressed that a team had to be put in place that would help government to achieve its objective faster. He maintained that the public would then have "less justifiable cause for complaint about paying higher water rates and not seeing commensurate improvement in service, as well as an action plan to deal with future challenges in relation to water."

He revealed that Cabinet had decided that a weekly report had to be done on the progress of the BWA. "We looked at the management structure, we looked at the performance of some of the managers and the Cabinet has given very clear instructions to the Minister [of Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe], as to the direction in which he should proceed and reiterated the priorities in relation to reform," Mr. Thompson stated.

He added that there were some practices and aspects of the overall management of the institution which the Cabinet was "not altogether happy about". As a result, the Prime Minister indicated Dr. Lowe had been asked to have an early meeting with the General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union, Sir Roy Trotman, so that there could be a "head start" in discussions about the reform process.

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