Another election day will soon be here, and one of the many concerns of a large percentage of residents, especially on Tortola, is water. The name Biwater always comes up, and it always amuses me that so many people do not really understand the real issue.
Here is a question. If a family has a family meeting and one of the children makes a suggestion and everyone supports it, who is responsible for the success or failure?
Ever since the days of Ocean Conversion-BVI, people have been complaining about the supply of water. For whatever reason, some thought that we needed an additional supply, but they thought that it should be foreign-owned because they believe that foreigners can always do better than locals. I will not spend time in all the details surrounding Biwater coming here except to say that they never should have been brought here. The water supply to the consumer has not improved, and some may say it has gotten worst. This is where one needs to understand the difference between production and distribution.
As far as I can recall, OC-BVI was always producing the water and Biwater is also producing the required amount of water. That was their contract with the government (to produce water) and from all my conversations and research they never failed in producing water. The question is: Who is responsible for distribution? We all know the answer to that question. Government is the entity responsible for distribution, and until this duty is responsibly handled the situation will not improve.
‘A private angle’
Let us look at distribution from a private angle. Imagine that Company A is the distributor for product XYT here in the VI and customers complain about the service from company A. Later on, Company B contacts the producer of XYT and is able to convince the company that they can do a much better job in distribution. The producer will take away the distributorship from A and give it to B. During this process, production may decrease as sales have dropped because of poor distribution by Company A.
Many people like to place the blame for the water woes on Third District Representative Julian Fraser, who was the minister of communications and works when Biwater was hired. But revisit the question of the family meeting. If the proposal that the child made turned out to be detrimental to the family, are you going to blame the child? While Mr. Fraser was responsible for wanting to bring in Biwater (for whatever dumb reason) it could not happen without the approval of the Cabinet.