Kelvin Simon Tells Gaston Browne to Stop the Water Politics: You Can’t Carry Water in a Basket


It was extremely upsetting to learn last week that Esworth Martin, the General Manager of Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), has become the latest scapegoat in the “water politics game”.

According to Gaston Browne, APUA’s Water Business Unit is the biggest threat to his government. But if the issue is about performance, shouldn’t Gaston and his entire Cabinet have been fired long ago?

Why is it that only APUA management is being penalized? What about the previous Minister Hon. Robin Yearwood, one of the longest serving Utilities Ministers in the Caribbean and current Chairman of the APUA?

Where is the blame for the current Minister, Hon. Melford Nicholas for his gross incompetence? Why are these Ministers, as well as the APUA Board, who were all appointed by Gaston Browne still in office?

Esworth Martin is a proud son of St. Mary’s South and has served both the UPP and ABLP administrations well. So why has it taken almost 10 years for Gaston Browne to suddenly discover Martin’s incompetence? Gaston Browne continues to demoralize the APUA staff, by making unsubstantiated accusations of sabotage.

He continues to malign, misinform and mislead the public about their capabilities. Yet many of these same APUA staff members have held these positions since the UPP Administration. When Browne claimed almost 10 years ago that he could fix the water problem in 14 days, did he not intend to do so with the help of Martin and his staff?

During the general elections, Gaston Browne accused APUA staff of interfering with the water supply to influence votes in certain parts of the country, with the intention of making the ABLP look bad.

If UPP had so much support among the APUA staff, why did these same employees allow the water problems to occur prior to the 2014 elections in the first place? Gaston Browne is delusional.

First the water problem was due to UPP’s gross incompetence. Now after 10 years, having failed to address the water issues, the problem is now Esworth Martin.

Mr. Martin was served by a police with papers that terminated his employment with the APUA. Why was it necessary to humiliate a public servant in this most egregious manner? During the by-election in St. Mary’s South, Gaston Browne also described how he got the police to go to an employee’s home to ensure that valves were turned on the day of the by-election.

To him, it was critical that voters had water on election day. Our PM really expected that because the water was turned on, that people would forget about the many days prior, when they went without water? Our PM really does not understand the people of St. Mary’s South and what we stand for.

But the ABLP only pays attention to water when there is an election looming. For them, water and elections go hand in hand.

During the last general elections, we saw citizens being forced to go back to life in the 1960s, chasing water trucks, or lining up at standpipes with buckets to get water. We also saw many ABLP politicians enter the lucrative water trucking market.

The ABLP has invested millions of dollars in reverse osmosis plants, and they have little improvements to show for it. They now want to buy water and privatize APUA, but they have failed to lay out a comprehensive solution to ease the deplorable water supply that has plagued Antiguans and Barbudans for all these years.

An audit of the monies spent by APUA to fix the water problems is warranted. I encourage all citizens and residents to demand public consultations on the water crisis – a proposal that has been advanced by Leader of the Opposition Hon. Jamale Pringle.

The UPP is suggesting that the Lower House appoint a Select Committee – on which members of the Government and the Opposition would sit – and convene public discussions with officials from APUA.

Out of this collaboration, greater transparency would emerge as Members of Parliament would have an opportunity to discuss comprehensive solutions to address the challenges of delivering pipe-borne water regularly. This is how you hold the government accountable.

We need the support of the people in demanding greater accountability from the government about the water crisis.

I look forward to returning to Parliament to be a part of these important deliberations to help identify the best solutions to improve our water management, and help move St. Mary’s South and the entire nation forward.

We cannot fix the water problem by just blaming others. Removing Esworth Martin will not address the problem, while the Minister and the APUA Board remain in place.

Gaston Browne said in 2014 that the water crisis is of a different age. I challenge Gaston Browne to immediately engage all stakeholders to find modern solutions to address the water crisis and to desist from making it a personal issue.

If APUA workers like Esworth Martin did not sabotage UPP in 2014, what would be their motive to sabotage their country in 2023? Maybe our PM will now accept that the water crisis was not merely a UPP performance issue, but a crisis that requires a vision and national collaboration.

Maybe Gaston Browne will finally admit that the country’s water problem cannot be fixed in 14 days, given the severity of the crisis that our country has faced for years. Residents of St. Mary’s South and thousands of Antiguans and Barbudans, go without water for days on end. Schedule or no schedule, people are just not getting water. But what they do get is high water bills.

This water crisis must end. But you cannot expect any different results if we continue to give APUA staff “a basket to carry water.” I am calling on Gaston Browne to stop engaging in childish political blame games. We need water not politics!







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  1. This lunatic PM thinks Antigua and Barbuda belong to him and he can do what everhe damn well please. He has to be ousted from office before he destroys this country.
    He blames everything and everyone yet he and his cabinet are the biggest failures. The most disrespectful, dunce, narcissistic clown that ever disgraced the office of PM and finance minister.
    Epworth Martin, it’s time to speak up. Don’t let this clown soil your name and reputation. Let the public know where tge 168 million went and if in fact APUAs money is being sent to NAMCO.

    • @ watching: my good friend u seem to watching thru a UPP lens that seems not to be working well for u….. The water crisis is affecting the blue, the red, the orange & the green. Can’t you see that the problem is much that what the political administrators can manage? UPP had their chance to improve but they ran the water machinery to ground. ABLP is trying but still having their challenges. It is obvious that there is some incompetence & inefficiency in APUA. Perhaps as a citizen of A & B, you & Shuggy should try to contribute to the solution rather than pointing fingers to try to look good….. Talk is cheap but Actions value more

  2. Shuggy you stil forgetting the gray spots lol 😆

    I heard you and your boys from SMS have water trucks making big money like ABLP too so if the water issue is fixed plenty trucks on park including yours. 😂

    • @.357 Magnum

      You sound very very bitter. You cannot overcome the loss after spending $5,000,000.00?
      You put up difigated Dwayne George to run against Shuggy and practically hid him from the media!
      Please go and advise Cutie, Molwyn and Gaston, the Octegenerians about the dyeing of their hair, because Shuggy is almost two times younger than them.

  3. Mr Martin is a professional so he is not going to do that he is a casualty of the by election, as an engineer if you ask me we have to do a research of the structure in place island wide before you can develop and budget put a 5 year plan in place to start off with instead of trying the band aid tactics

  4. When Gaston Browne was campaigning in 2014, he had all the answers to the water problems. Not once did he criticize the staff, it was all about UPP incompetence. Now we are to accept that the problem is due to employee sabotage? It’s the same staff. Martin was around under UPP. The water problem is much bigger than Gaston Browne could have ever imagined.

  5. Shugy is chatting pure nonsense. APUA has been provided with more than $100 Million over the course of nine years (2014 to 2023) and they have not solved the water crisis. In any corporate entity and management can’t solve a similar problem with that kind of money, they would have fired long garling time.

    UPP needs to stop playing politics with this issue.

    • Who’s really playing politics? I should’ve thought that people like you are daft and dishonest, which you probably are, but I find that you are just simply a natural liar.

    • @ Wash an’ Basin

      So what was Robin playing in 2014 when he said ‘anybody vote those people back into power…..’

  6. Come on fellow citizens of Antigua & Barbuda, can’t you all see that Gaston Browne knows that he cannot resolve the implementation OF our island-wide water system (even in his next forthcoming 4 years in office).


    So his focus will be on the management; pipeline suppliers; delays from other countries; lack of engineering, technology staff, and the exhausted list of uncle Tom cobbley and all.

    Distraction, deflection and even more distraction!

    Prime Minister Browne well an’ know his government couldn’t complete this in the run-up to the last General Election, but yet he and his party said that they could, just to garner and gather votes under FALSE pretense – what a crock (or should that be crook?).


    • @Brixtonian, is the PM or any MP responsible for running pipes and turning on valves, and other technical stuff needed to make water distribution seamless? One thing for certain is a FACT: The government has spent millions in RO plants. It is up to the engineers to get these up and running to allow proper water distribution. Not Gaston Browne, not Melford Nicholas. The manager has the responsibility to ensure that his department runs up to standard. They have been given the tools and funds to do so. If they continue to fail, questions must be asked OF THE MANAGER. That’s just how the real world works.

      • You are totally missing my point @ DunlopJ, I suggest you read what I’ve said again – but slowly!

        Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to ensure that anyone involved in MAJOR construction of our infrastructures is contracted out to bona-fide companies (whether in the private or public sector), so that due diligence is adhered to?


        Government standards starts from the top and not from the bottom, doesn’t it?

        • … and you’d do well to recall that Gaston Browne promised to deliver island-wide water despite knowing APUA’s obvious shortcomings …

          Come on, stop trying to defend the indefensible here.

          • @ Brixtonian: A simple question to you. If you have a vehicle that has a problem and so you are not getting the service you expect from it, I assume you will take it to the mechanic who should have the technical expertise to rectify the problem….. Now if the mechanic in his wisdom indicate to you that certain parts are needed and you supply him with those parts but you are not getting positive results, 1. what would you do & 2. would you the owner deserve the blame for not getting the problem rectified? Please equate the scenario with the govt as the owner & Apua as the mechanic where the technical expertise is……………….

          • I like your analogy @ Bluddy Bloke, and you deserve a Brixtonian response:

            I have only ever used two mechanics/service stations in 15-20 years of driving boss. The first one was very expensive (and not worth the outlay), and I always had to take it back for correction errors and they were doing work that wasn’t requested or required by me – go figure!.

            HENCE, I GOT RID AH DEM!

            Now, after doing due diligence on my current reliable garage/mechanics, I’ve had no issues whatsoever up to the present date.

            The point being @ Bluddy Bloke, I got off my backside and look into what was best for me to do financially and economically.


            I hope you thoroughly enjoyed my analogy … I did!

  7. @WashnBasin, are you so sure then that APUA got 100 million? You minions are such simpleton. APUA was dangled as collateral because that idiot who knows nothing about finance cannot borrow a dime from any reputable source. Well ACB knows the cash cow that APUA is, so they can get their money back.
    The biggest problem in our country is the idiot ALP politicians who have their hands in everything, micromanaging and just running everything. Health, Education, Finance,Agriculture,all in shambles.
    If you want to speak of incompetence, just throw a rock into cabinet. Doesn’t matter who you hit. Incompetence is guaranteed.

  8. @watching.

    You could not have said it any better 😔. Incompetence abound with these people.
    I swear this man reminds of Donald Trump to backside..just run his mouth with big talk and promises and everything around him falling apart. Mean while this narcissistic joker thinks that everything is going great.

    We have a blind leader running Antigua to backside!!!

  9. Shugy you’re right, you can’t carry water in a basket if the incompetent people at APUA are given a tub but they turn it into a basket. The UPP and its operatives as alleged by Dimani Tabor were hell bent on making water a political issue. Enough with the excuses, enough with suggesting that we do need a basket instead of quality pipes and infrastructure to get water flowing to our homes.
    Let’s see how soon ineffective Martin leaves, we shall have water in our homes again.
    Water has been an issue because UPP failed to address the huge problem in their 2004 & 2009 manifesto.
    If things don’t change under new management, then we make changes until it is done.
    The people of Antigua deserve so much better than the UPP with their non existent plans and poor water management & sabotage.

    • May I also remind you @ ComingDown, as you’ve mentioned that the UPP failed in their
      2004 – 2009 manifesto in implementing the water system. However, you have failed to mention that the ABLP has had QUADRUPLE the time to put this in place also.

      Your blind support of the current government’s incompetence is astounding to those reading your above commentary.

      One question to you @ ComingDown:

      Why the free pass for the ABLP – for the 40-odd years – in NOT supplying Antiguans with water?


  10. Water trucks making plenty money so fixing the issue will stop the cash flow for alot people in high places 🤐

  11. @ DunlopJ – Nobody expected the PM to be pushing the buttons at the RO plants but if he did not source or educate the right people to run the infrastructure it is still a failure on his part. Shuggy hit the nail on the head…and if he has water trucks operating that shows an ability to put country above self.

  12. Irregardless of political party, the Government (GOAB) had failed miserably in delivering basic services.
    The education system has failed, and continue to be a failing institution. The recent data on the level of passes vs. failures is astounding.
    Those outcomes are reflected in the discourse here, which is quiet often embarrassing.
    How about spending the time to deepen your relationships with your community, and champion the transformative power of organizing for good.
    How about opening yourselves up, and be more outward facing as opposed to inward.
    Embrace what happened and learn from it, instead of being stuck in it and repeating the old history.

  13. Shuggy nonsense you chatting . Martin is the first point of contact as the genera manager. He has failed miserably . He is a well known big time UPP supporter a man’s yet the government kept him on. He has not performed its long time he should have gone home. He has No sort of control over the workers at the water division. That makes him part of the problem. You want the government to keep paying for incompetence? Sabotaging progress of this government by being wicked to the people of Antigua. Long time Martin needed to go home they are too political. Learn to separate polo from your job.

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