Gonzales: Government to announce WASA restructuring plans by month end

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said the government will announce its plans for the restructuring of the Water and Sewerage Authority by the end of June.

He was speaking at the launch of the North West Water Supply Improvement Programme at the Government Campus Auditorium, Richmond Street, Port of Spain on Friday. The programme will involve the completion of 53 projects and impact 143,000 people in the region.

“While I am prepared to spend that kind of money to improve the water supply, the reorganisation and the transformation of WASA must complement what we’re doing. Because if we don’t address the systemic and management problems inside of WASA, it means that, very soon, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve water supply, if it’s not supported by competent and requisite management, then we’re going to go back to the same situation we find ourselves in today.”

He declined to give any hints as to what the government might be planning.

“The thinking that went into the design of this: if we spend $60 million to do this project and you don’t address the management problem within WASA, and the management problem will deal with your preventative maintenance, making sure the plants are properly maintained, making sure that we invest in automation, making sure you respond to customers, those things are management issues. You don’t expect the minister to be doing that.

“So if you have a complement of competent and professional managers in place to ensure that when people are trying to invest in a programme like that, that those investors can be protected by competent management, dealing with management issues, it means that for ten, 15 years, we will benefit from this kind of investment.”

Gonzales said while the problems with WASA on the ground were being addressed, the management issue must also be addressed.