Pollster says ABLP risks election backlash over water woes


OBSERVER NEWSCO: Political pollster and the Director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham has described the years of unresolved water problems in Antigua and Barbuda as one of the “leading shortcomings” of the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) regime.

Water is a basic necessity in any country but getting sufficient supply for household chores has proved an immense challenge for residents.

Wickham believes that the ABLP’s failure to improve the water supply across the country could present a challenge when the general election is called.

“You come in with a promise to fix it;, you should have had fixed it and I think that is a reasonable basis on which to criticise the administration,” he remarked.

In 2014, even while the country continued to suffer from what the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Services dubbed “the worst drought since the 2002/2003”, the ABLP built its re-election campaign on its ability to provide potable water to residents, among other solutions.

The party was able to convince voters to elect the Gaston-Browne led regime, effectively replacing the two-term United Progressive Party (UPP) government.

However, fast forward eight years later, and Wickham is calling the problem “scandalous”.

A scandal, in the sense that it was the same failed promise that he said helped unseat the Baldwin Spencer administration.

Furthermore, Wickham said the issue is still rooted in the same problems that caused the collapse of the UPP in 2014.

“I think the water situation is scandalous. The issue of water helped bring down the Baldwin Spencer administration and I think it is most unfortunate that we’re still able to have this conversation after the first term of the Gaston Browne administration has passed and the issue of water is still very much on the table,“ he posited.

Even with the ABLP’s efforts to increase the water output by increasing the number of reverse osmosis plants available on the island, the party has been unable to solve the overall water storage and water retention problems posed by aged and leaking pipes.

Wickham recalled: “I remember the election where the government was changed, what was telling for me when I was on the ground when I saw a lady dressed in her church clothes with an SUV filling up bottles of water to carry back home to do goodness knows what. I thought that that spoke dimly in relation to the way the Baldwin Spencer administration had prioritised and the fact that similar scenarios are still playing out in various places of St John’s is scandalous.”

Some residents believe that the issue of water shortage has been a political ploy used for decades to capture the votes of a population that is in short supply of a resource needed to ensure proper health care and a decent standard of living.

There are also those who believe that only the utility company can solve the problem, while another fraction of residents say it is enough to vote out the administration.

Despite plans to further increase reverse osmosis plants, with little to no rainfall in the months ahead, moderate or worsened long-term drought is likely to affect Antigua and Barbuda by the end of May 2022.

According to the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Network’s (CDPMN’s) latest Caribbean Drought Bulletin, areas ending in long-term drought by the end of May are expected to experience “significantly reduced water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers and ground water during the season”.

In its prediction, the network said a drought warning should be considered for not only Antigua and Barbuda, but countries like Aruba, central and southern Belize, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint Lucia.

A drought warning is the last level before a drought emergency is declared in these Caribbean countries.

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  1. Absolutely correct, this has always been the achilles heel to the ABLP government.

    Low water, no water, can’t drink water, unable to have a decent shower, can’t wash your clothes properly – if at all -, people still using pail/bucket to flush waste. WOW!

    Gassy, we are in 2022, not 1922 … AND YOU ABOUT TO CALL AN ELECTION – PLEASE DO!!!

    • If you believe that UPP can fix the problem then you are really something. The same problem existed under the UPP AND the ALP before them. If any party campaigns with promises to fix the water situation, then they are just trying to score political points.

      Maybe we need to get a foreign company to come and run APUA’s water division because clearly they have not gotten it right for the 40 years I have been alive and at this point I am completely hopeless that they can.

      • Common sense is definitely a flower that seems like it does not grow in most of the UPP supporters garden….. UPP had their chance to rectify the water problem but they made a big mockery of it. Is Satan (upp) trying to correct sin?

      • Please remember that the ABLP government has been in for TWO terms, and you are still trying to find excuses for their incompetence regarding water distribution on the island.


        • @ Brixarse In case u don’t know or you are pretending not to know UPP was in power for two terms as well 2004-2014 and the water problem exists then as it is now. UPP will not fix shyte!!!!

          • ALP won’t do crap unless one of them can make money. They will talk the big talk to fool people to vote for them and then say they have no money to buy pipes.
            I say vote for UPP and give them two terms to fix the problem. If try don’t, vote them out.

          • OK Amneis(arse) … 🍑 see how easy and sloppy it is to name call – you’re showing your illiteracy, by not being able to have a good discourse without being ignorant.

            YOU TOO CLAFFY …

          • Again Brixarse you are pretending that UPP was not in power for 2 terms!! Did they fix the water problem? The answer is NO!!! Go ahead and pretend that 2004-2014 did not happen!!!

        • You’re wrong. ABLP hasn’t been in office for 2 terms – ABLP is in its second term. Almost 8 years compared to 10 years and 3 months that the UPP was in power

        • Brixtonian, I will advise you get your mathematical & logical skills intact…… As mentioned before UPP had 10 years with very little interruption. ABLP has 8 years with the PANDEMIC of 2 years of not generating any revenue…. DO THE MATHS


    • I live in the north and we have the same water issues. You call the helpline and it’s empty promises because they are going by the same schedule that was never accurate.

    • the bucket a water that you tek fu wet down ya mommy head because she permed her hair, you could have used it to do something worthwhile!

  3. I have always said that the problem is NOT water production but it’s distribution.

    Years of corroded pipes, shoddy scheduling and bad APUA management is what is causing the problems. For years APUA has not invested in replacing old pipes. They can tell us that how many millions of gallons of water is being wasted but not what is being done to fix the problem.

    We can open 100 desalination plants but the same problems will be there.

    I think instead of picketing the PMs office, that APUA’s management should be the target and even the minister responsible. Just like Russia and the Chinese governments can interfere with political elections in a country, APUA has been deciding the fate or our own elections for years. No government has been able to fix the problem because they are trying to fix the wrong problem.


  4. The government claimed to have money to buy out Scotia bank and buy out digicel and LIAT and hotels. The same money can be used to take us to 100% desalination like Curacao. Why did cabinet notes mention last week’s that crabs production will be “increased” to 1.7 million gallons. Why is it not at full production of 3.5-4.0 million gallons.

    Where is the powerhouse?

  5. Why doesn’t your geologist-in-charge explain to the gullible and ignorant the Fact that Antigua and Barbuda is currently experiencing its worst drought on record for the last ninety (90) years. We have allowed ourselves to become so dumbed down that we swallow every ounce of crap spewed from the filthy lips of the desperate for power opposition elements!
    As for Peter Peter the Australian pumpkin eater, he can be excused if not entirely ignored. His brain is now in REVERSE gear – his NUTS, BOLTS and SCREWS all LOOSE.

  6. Excuses excuses excuses. The ABLP government and Gaston have failed this country miserable. I vote for them in the last two elections and never again. They ah wan waste.

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