I wonder what sort of advice the governor gives in Cabinet meetings? I wonder if the heads of departments know what goes on at the bottom of their hierarchy? I wonder if Cabinet members really know what they are approving?

The Water and Sewage Department is nowhere near being able to guarantee a steady supply of water, especially in the Third District.

We lost our meter, and thus our supply, in the hurricanes of 2017. Until recently, we were told that they had no meters available for installation or replacement, did not know when they were going to get any, and did not have any funds to buy any.

Having previously insisted that only their own meters could be installed, they seem to have done a deal with Clarence Thomas Limited for them to bring in water meters for the public to buy, for the department to fit.

When we did this and delivered it to the department to be fitted. They lost it but still turned up to fit it (without the meter). Eventually, a meter was fitted. Whether it was the one we bought or another bought by them, I don’t know. Because there was no water supply at the time they were unable to test it. Some months later, it sits there reading 0000, but water gushes out of the ground somewhere before the meter whenever the supply happens to be on. Numerous calls and a couple of visits still have not resolved our problem.

Prior to this, water supply has been very hit and miss for some years, meter reading very erratic, and bill production even more so. The latest we heard was to photograph the meter and take the reading in to the department and they will raise a bill. Great when your meter reads 0000000.


Meter contract

Now we read that a huge contract is to be signed, without tendering, for the supply of automatically read digital water meters “to allow a drastic potable water sales revenue increase.” Really?

“Great,” you may say. How do they know this? These meters will cost about $158 each, with an additional $70 going towards the consultant. That is about the same price that meters cost at CTL, but they (the contract meters) include a battery (life said to be 12 years) and a small transmitter. And where do they transmit to? The WSD headquarters? No, to a handheld device nearby, held by a meter reader!

Was this contract amount in any budget? Because if they did not have money to buy meters before, where has it suddenly come from? Will there be training to maintain the meters and electronic devices? If a meter reading does not change from month to month, will they know whether it is faulty or the customer just hasn’t taken any water?

At any rate, they still have to employ meter readers. Not sure how many they had already. Then they produce a bill. Do they mail it? (That’s another government department story). Do you have to go and collect it? Do they cut your supply off after a certain time if you haven’t settled your bill? How many people are already delinquent in paying bills? How many have been cut off? How many have been prosecuted? What will CTL do with the unsold meters?

Marriage licences

Meanwhile, as reported in the dead-tree press last week (that’s newspaper to you), Cabinet has approved same-day marriage licences, particularly for people on board ships in territorial waters. This will probably work for land visitors, although I would think it wise to inform the authorities (the registrar general) beforehand.

However, I am curious to know how it would work for people on boats or ships, especially cruise ships that are only in port for a few hours. Again, folks on non-cruise ships may have some time to forewarn the authorities of their impending nuptials and requirement for a licence, contact and find the registrar, and either get to the boat/yacht/ship or find the office and attend.

It may be a bit more complicated for cruise ship passengers. One assumes that they don’t suddenly decide to get married whilst on the cruise, so some forethought is required. First, does the cruise line advertise the possibility and/or provide any assistance? Is the ship’s agent prepared to help? Does the registrar need to be informed beforehand so that the necessary documents are available on the day, and the registrar can attend the ship?

Otherwise, you can imagine the comedy of a couple deciding to get married, getting off the ship, finding a taxi driver who knows where the registrar’s office is, getting there and finding out “she gone to come back,” or they can’t fulfil the required documents, or she won’t come to the ship for the ceremony and the ship leaves at 5 p.m. And if the ship is in on a weekend?

I await the first, or maybe it won’t be the first, report of a successful same-day marriage on board a ship.