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Editorial: No Easy Answer Over Cutting Off Water

WHERE BPL has gone before, now the Water and Sewerage Corporation is seeking to follow – in cutting off customers whose bills remain unpaid.

Now, obviously, COVID-19 has left the nation in a situation no one wants to be in. Too many are left counting their pennies and holding on tight waiting for the tourism industry to start again and to allow people to pay their bills.

There are two categories of people here – those who can’t pay, and those who won’t pay. Those who can’t include people trying their hardest to make ends meet and struggling with finding enough money to put food on the table. Those who won’t… well, they deserve the wake-up call of a disconnection, especially at a time when revenue is down for agencies such as WSC.

The trouble is, which is which? And neither side helps WSC to pay its own bills and keep the water flowing.

No one is under any illusions here – the country is having a rough time. Bills can’t be paid with empty pockets.

What we would hope is that WSC does what BPL did – and call on customers to reach out and make payments where they can, or make arrangements where possible.

If WSC knows you can’t pay, as opposed to won’t, perhaps there are things that can be done to make the payment easier over a longer term. If they know you’re doing all you can but COVID-19 leaves that being just not enough, we hope something can be done to make it easier.

After all, shutting off water will just drive more people out to the public pumps or to the stores for water, and that’s only asking for more opportunity for COVID-19 itself to spread.

As for Bahamians, well, we should listen too when we hear the executive chairman of WSC, Adrian Gibson, say that the WSC “is in dire straits”. He said: “Our operating cash flow cannot sustain monthly payments for vendors and payroll.”

In other words, the same situation as many customers. Not enough money. Too much they have to spend.

There’s no easy way through this ongoing crisis – but it all has to start with beating the virus so we can open back up for business. In the meantime, if you’re behind and you know it, contact WSC. They may be able to help – but they can’t help at all if they don’t hear from you.

Kelly’s do it the right way

In this time of so much gloom and doom, we are delighted to hear a great story coming out of Grand Bahama.

When Hurricane Dorian ripped through the island, it left Kelly’s in Freeport in a state of “complete devastation”. After 13 months of rebuilding, and the hurdle of COVID-19 to clear along the way, Kelly’s is back.

It took 400 days to get there – but they have done it in the right way. Best of all, they kept all 115 workers fully employed throughout both Dorian’s aftermath and COVID-19. Now that’s a commitment to the community that must be applauded.

In a week in which our national heroes have been saluted, we would like to add one more round of salutes, for all those who made such a comeback possible. Well done, Kelly’s.

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