NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Davis yesterday pushed back against Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson’s calls for the resumption of disconnections, arguing that to do so amid the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to a worsening of community spread.
In a statement, Davis noted that the Cabinet of The Bahamas made a policy decision to suspend WSC water disconnection exercises in the wake of the COVID-19.
Therefore according to Davis, the request by the corporation’s executive chairman “has to be seen as a moot point”.
Gibson said recently he was seeking Cabinet permission to restart disconnections of delinquent customers as the corporation is facing severe financial challenges.
Still, Davis noted that doing so could worsen the spread of the virus.
“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,” he said.
“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 further questioned how the government could justify disconnecting delinquent customers who owe some $9 million when the corporation’s single largest customer, the government of The Bahamas, owes nearly ten times that amount.
“A Cabinet approval would appear duplicitous and hypocritical on the face of it,” said Davis.
“The cash shortfalls the corporation’s chairman is complaining about are common in many households under these very challenging economic conditions.
“I hope that with all of the crowing from the rafters by this government over their oversubscribed $600 million international bond placement, the government should lead by example and seek to immediately settle this enormous debt with WSC.”