DNA Leader blasts government over water shortage

Joanne Massiah (Photo by Kwesi Isles)

By Carlena Knight

The leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), Joanne Massiah, is blasting the Government of Antigua and Barbuda over the current water woes facing residents.

Massiah vented her frustration Thursday on the Connecting with Dave Lester Payne show after news broke earlier this week that the supply at Potworks Dam had reached critically low levels, so a new water-rationing schedule would come on stream in the days ahead.

She first questioned the priorities of government as, according to Massiah, they are failing to use the resources around them to solve this recurring problem.

“It’s about priorities. What is the priority of this government or what are the priorities outside of declaring these kinds of things? These are basics. We are not living in some primitive country. We are talking about a country which boasts a tourism product second to none in the OECS. We talk about transitioning the country to be the epicenter of modern development befitting of an economic powerhouse, and yet still we can’t meet these very basic demands and expectations of the people,” the DNA leader said.

”Under UPP’s stewardship we had found documents that prior to the UPP assuming office that the conclusion was the dam was leaking, and you are telling me that we enjoy diplomatic relationships with so many countries who have faced similar climatic conditions but who have conquered and resolved their water problem and nobody from Prime Minister come right down to Minister of APUA, Minister responsible for natural resources, nobody can say to these people, ‘Are you able to dispatch a technical team or some sort of team to help us to research, analyse and come up with solutions to fix this problem?’”

Massiah is also blaming the government for putting persons at a disadvantage.

“This government expects that the hours during which they put on the water when people are sleeping, that parents and guardians and adults in this country, people generally, are expected all to wake up at 4 o’clock to bathe, to get their children ready.

“I would think that if you are rationing water … people work in this country, children go to school, people are tired and just want to clean up themselves and you are going to take off the water before 8 o’clock during the time when people are getting ready, when they are making breakfast. People have to cook, they have to wash dishes, they have to tidy themselves.

“How are women who are experiencing their menstrual cycle to clean themselves and to be hygienic and to be clean if you do not have a steady supply of water? How are senior citizens and persons who are ill, persons who are incontinent, how are they supposed to tidy themselves? How are the people in the nursing homes supposed to ensure that the elderly who are not capable of taking care of themselves any longer, how are they to be fresh? How are we supposed to exist and feel human if that is the situation?” Massiah queried.

Despite her frustrations, she declared her willingness to working alongside the Gaston Browne administration in tackling the issue.

“I am opening up myself to share my ideas and views with the government because, as we have said in the DNA, if it is good for Antigua and Barbuda – and we believe that we [have] solutions that can prosper – then we will give it to you because it is the people of this country who must be the primary beneficiaries of good development, good planning [and] good strategizing,” she said.