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Blame BVI Electricity Corporation for water woes- Hon Mark H. Vanterpool

- the Water & Sewerage Department crying out for resources; No vehicles to carry out duties
The Water and Sewerage Department is suffering from lack of resources, including vehicles for staff to execute their duties. Photo: VINO/File
Information about the lack of water across the territory come out when Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), right, questioned Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) in the House of Assembly on June 23, 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Information about the lack of water across the territory come out when Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), right, questioned Minister for Communications and Works Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) in the House of Assembly on June 23, 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Water problems persist in the territory and the Water and Sewerage Department has come under criticism for not being able to adequately address them. Photo: VINO
Water problems persist in the territory and the Water and Sewerage Department has come under criticism for not being able to adequately address them. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Lack of water continues to be a serious issue in the Virgin Islands, particularly on Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Residents continue to cry out as the Virgin Islands' Government cannot fulfill the mandate of a continuous supply of potable water to all citizens.

However, when the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) left office in 2011 it had signed a water purchase agreement with Biwater that if implemented would have adequately addressed these issues. But because the National Democratic Party (NDP) came to power in 2011 promising voters to scrap the deal, they deliberately, according to the Opposition VIP, frustrated the process, which caused many residents to be without water for months with no end in sight.

Some five years later, many of the same water hardships still exist.

Minister for Communications and Works, Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) blamed the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) for the long water shortage.

The Works Minister was at the time answering questions posed to him at the Ninth Sitting of the First Session of the Third House of Assembly on June 23, 2016 by the Opposition Leader, Hon Julian Fraser RA (R3), on the continuous recent water woes.

It’s BVIEC’s fault- Hon Vanterpool

In zeroing in on the areas of Sea Cows Bay/Pleasant Valley being out of water for four long days, from June 8, 2016 to June 11, 2016, Minister Vanterpool told the House of Assembly (HoA) “the main pump at Diamond which transfers water across the ridge to the Hannah Hill Reservoir was recently damaged as a result of a major power surge.” The Minister continued in his answer to the question that “this resulted in the Water and Sewerage Department’s inability to pump water from Sabbath Hill to the Hannah Hill Reservoir.”

In laying the blame on BVIEC for the lack of water to the people of the Third District, Hon Vanterpool claim that “about the same time, Madam Speaker, the Electricity Corporation experienced damage to one of their generators which resulted in load shedding, to include the Paraquita Bay Water storage for distribution throughout the main areas of Tortola, including the Sea Cow’s Bay/Pleasant Valley area.”

The Communications and Works Minister, who has been unable to address the water problems since he was accused of frustrating the Biwater project, promised to provide surge protectors and backup generators to the main pumps, however, he did not state when or the cost.

Hon Vanterpool promised for the fifth time now that the water issues will be addressed and told the HoA “fine-tuning the distribution system continues with the expectancy that a 24 hour supply of water to the area would become a reality by this year’s end.”

No water on parts of Virgin Gorda for months!

When asked about the situation on Virgin Gorda where residents experienced months of no water, the Minister whose portfolio is public water supply told the Parliament that there was a “challenge with a main pump in North Sound area recently.”

He said “there are occasional pockets of water shortage due to breakages of pipes.” Again the Minister made yet another promise, like he has been doing for some five years, when he said, “the Ministry is in discussion with Aqua Design to install additional water capacity in the North Sound area to increase capacity from 50, 0000 Imperial Gallons per day to 200,0000 imperial Gallons. Hon Vanterpool promised that “this upgrade is expected within the next 12 months.”

Water Department has no resources

Another vexing matter is that the Water and Sewerage Department is crying out for resources, according to many of the staff, including the sister islands. 

Like the schools without basic supplies, the Water and Sewerage Department is facing hardship and they do not even have vehicles to carry out their duties. The Opposition Leader, Hon Fraser, told the HoA of his “shock at having seen the Water and Sewerage Department staff use a rental for transportation.”

Hon Vanterpool promised that by the end of June 2016, which is Thursday, the Water and Sewerage will have three new vehicles and another three by the end of July.

However, a senior officer from the Department speaking on condition of anonymity told our newsroom, no “new vehicles” are expected Thursday June 30, 2016 at the Department, as it seems like yet another broken promise by Minister Vanterpool.

23 Responses to “Blame BVI Electricity Corporation for water woes- Hon Mark H. Vanterpool”

  • angulla & antigua (28/06/2016, 11:33) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    well sah both M & M have killed our bvi
    • Bullfoot (28/06/2016, 17:10) Like (3) Dislike (4) Reply
      Is this guy an a $$ hole??? Residents have been battle the water problems for years. And now he wants us to blame electricity? ? I will pass on his kool-aid with a little bugal...he can drink till his pants belt" buss off"
  • affected (28/06/2016, 12:00) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    D minister plate keep slippin dats y ayaa mis unda standin wa d man ssyn. Lol
  • it was the voters fault to elect the NDP (28/06/2016, 12:25) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    and the blame game continues
  • FRUSTRATED RESIDENCE (28/06/2016, 12:44) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Really?! (28/06/2016, 13:12) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Instead of working on roads again...they r not so bad right now.....put that $ into fixing water and power issues! Upgrade!!!
  • Fault (28/06/2016, 13:13) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
    At the end of the day, it's the fault of the lackluster leadership.
  • Some Clarity Needed Here (28/06/2016, 13:22) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doesn't BVIEC also fall under his Ministry?
  • Law Abiding citizen (28/06/2016, 13:31) Like (25) Dislike (0) Reply
    We blame you Mark. You're the most incompetent, under-qualified the ministry has ever had.
  • Pass the buck (28/06/2016, 13:47) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Another Minister thinks voters all stupid
  • Binocs (28/06/2016, 14:04) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Scary Mary (28/06/2016, 14:12) Like (26) Dislike (0) Reply
    These guys are so busy with the Ports project that they have no time to deal with such mundane matters as a "few" people without water.

    INFRASTRUCTURE is the main point of having a government. Do your job Mr. Minister and stop passing the buck. Don't blame the Electricity Corporation when it is YOUR JOB to see to it that people have water. FIX THE PROBLEMS and get YOUR job done. All other things on your very busy agenda MUST take a back seat to basic human needs. Get water to the people dem. I don't care if you get it there by donkey, or carry barrels in your own (publicly paid for vehicle) - just get it there.
  • Jim (28/06/2016, 14:18) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sigh...the blame game....
  • look (28/06/2016, 14:27) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thats why you install circuit protection . An eighth grader knows that . Blaming everything on everyone else . The elctric company is overall the best run utility by far . The crooks sho keep their mouths shut and TRY to do their jobs without greed and some minimal level of competence at the very least
  • wize up (28/06/2016, 16:09) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    From way back when the territory never had 24 hours of running water
  • foxy (28/06/2016, 18:10) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    they hated biwater so conitue to play politics with the water system
    • wize up (28/06/2016, 21:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ foxy: biwater was sold and its shareholders from sea cows bay made good money so there is more biwater
  • Is this joker serious? (28/06/2016, 22:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Minister, what kind of weed you smoked that made you get up and say this? VIslanders have been complaining about the water situation for years, more so in the past months. The power wasn't even out for six hours so how can that be the problem? What kind of fools do you and your posse take the people of the Virgin Islands for?
  • eye spell (28/06/2016, 23:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Go in there and take a bullet if you must for the good of the BVI. Cheers!

  • Well Sah (29/06/2016, 08:59) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why don't the water company have back up generators so when the power fails at BVIEC there will still have water for the people.
  • Political Observer (29/06/2016, 19:50) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Strong leaders take responsibilty and action on functions under their purview. They do not blame subordinates for failure. They coach and counsel poor performers. And if there are no improvements, ways are parted, Is not Water & Sewage and BVIEC under the MCW? This is like the left hand blaming the right hand..For decades, the BVIEC has been struggling with black outs, brown outs, poor voltage regulation.....etc. It is high time for some stability in generating, transmitting and distributing electricity. If the current crew cannot improve stability and reliability, it is time to get a crew that can.

    Why don't water and Sewage have spare parts for critical long lead time items? They should have a low limit on critical long lead time items. Further, there should be back up generators at these pump sites. When is the BVI going to take care of providing basic services? Basic services should have gone along with growth and development. All of our basic services are a mess: water, sewer, roads, electricity, ports, telecommunications, education, health, public safety......etc. Address basic services before we embark on big ambitious projects.

  • ting to talk (30/06/2016, 19:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    BEFORE he blame BVI EC for water woes, why he don't pay the big money the govt owing to BVI EC. Maybe it would help the shit-uation

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