Prime Minister Gaston Browne has told the “bad eggs” at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority’s (APUA) Water Department that they will be fired if they fail to do their jobs.
During an appearance on his weekly radio program on Sunday, Browne said he will start calling out the people that are responsible for communities in Antigua and Barbuda going weeks, in some cases, without water.
“If you don’t perform, you are going to lose your jobs. That’s the reality of it. We are not going to be making any joke with you all,” he commented.
“You can’t have a situation in which the government is investing all this money in water, and you are just coming up with a whole heap of excuses when you look at the situation with the spillway at Potworks. You’re telling me that heads are not supposed to roll for that? You sat down there for years and did nothing about securing the spillway. And when we did get a good shower to make sure that we have water in Potworks, most of the water leaked out and the body must pay for that?”
Heads have already started rolling at APUA as General Manager Esworth Martin, who has been in the position for two decades, was told to take preretirement leave due to the government’s dissatisfaction with his ability to handle water problems that have plagued Antigua and Barbuda for several years.
Martin has received a generous exit package which includes the payment of all benefits.
Browne, who described Martin as a friend, said the government is being forced to “have to start to take action and start to push people to perform.”
He hinted that the government is aware that people within APUA are sabotaging the water delivery system for political gain.
Browne told listeners that he was left in shock at the “nonchalant” behaviour of APUA’s management towards fixing the water woes when he attended a recent company retreat.
“This nonchalant behaviour in the public sector in which people believe that they don’t have to perform and they’re going to allow our citizens and residents to suffer. I am not putting up with that,” prime minister stated.
The prime minister also put four senior managers at state entities on notice that they better ship up or they will be out the door.
“We are not spiteful, but we are holding people accountable,” Browne added.
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