Rabain: Why Did It Take So Long To Fix Situation

May 6, 2016

[Updated with Minister's response] Devonshire North Central MP Diallo Rabain said that while the PLP “welcomes the news that the Government has resolved the brown water crisis” they “must ask why it took so long to remedy the situation.”

Earlier this week the the Ministry of Public Works said that the remedial work “was completed successfully” and “so far 100 per cent of customers surveyed who were previously receiving brown or very brown water are now receiving clear water to their homes.”

One example of the water some area residents have in their homes:

discoloured water in the Prospect area Bermuda April 28 2016 2

Mr Rabain said, “The Progressive Labour Party welcomes the news that the Government has resolved the brown water crisis in the Cedar Park and Prospect areas of Devonshire. The residents of these neighbourhoods now have access to the clean water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.

“However, we must ask why it took so long to remedy the situation? We have been told by some residents that they have been complaining about this issue to local MP Glen Smith since last year.

“We are also aware that former OBA candidate Andrew Simons notified Premier Michael Dunkley of the water issues in early February, who in turn reached out to Public Works Minister Craig Cannonier.

“If the Premier and Cabinet were aware of the situation three months ago, and possibly longer, why did the OBA government allow residents to endure this potentially hazardous situation for so long?

“If any efforts to address the situation were underway, why weren’t residents notified by their Member of Parliament or the OBA candidate prior to last month?

Work taking place on April 28th to fix the situation:


“It was only after residents took their complaints to social media a few weeks ago and the PLP made a public statement were the concerns finally addressed by the OBA government and a resolution implemented. Should constituents now plan to raise issues via social media instead of approaching their elected representative?

“MP Glen Smith has neglected his constituents and the OBA Cabinet failed to act swiftly when notified about this unacceptable situation.

“Rather than claiming credit after being publicly embarrassed to act, the Government should be asking themselves why MP Glen Smith thinks it’s acceptable for his constituents to drink, cook, bathe, and wash with brown water.

“We, in the PLP, will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that MP Glen Smith’s constituents will get the representation they need on serious matters such as clean water to their homes,” concluded Mr Rabain.

Update 2.55pm: In response, Minister of Public Works Craig Cannonier said, “”The opposition seem relentless in their mission to spread misinformation about various issues in the community and turning them into political footballs; such is the case with the water issues at Prospect. The fact of the matter is that these problems have been ongoing for many years and a comprehensive plan to identify the source of the problem and fix it in fact began last summer.

“The main problem is that the water provided to these homes runs through old cast iron pipes likely installed before the 1970s. The same issues are beginning to affect communities in every country due to lack investment in infrastructure and the utilities responsible for maintaining them. The “as installed” piping schematics are not on file and thus it has been a laborious process to determine which pipes where interconnected to trunk mains.

“The Ministry has engaged in a process to Geo-locate, using Geographic Information systems [GIS], all of its Water And Wastewater infrastructure. In order to isolate the problem, the water supply had to be shut off to areas of Prospect which required coordination with several entities.

“The problem pipes have now been identified and the discolored water issues rectified through trenching and the installation of new High Density Polyethylene [HDPE] and Poly Vinyl Chloride [PVC] pipes to supply these homes. ‘Point of use’ filters will be installed in any homes that may still be affected, although there is no evidence of this based on our recent surveys.

“In conjunction with remedying the discoloration issue, there are also plans to improve the flow and pressure of water to the clients in this area with the installation of a new pumping system which will have the ability to be powered by a backup generator. The ability to power the pumping system by backup generator will enable the Water and Sewage Section to reinitialize service soon after any power loss to maintain service to the area.

“From the beginning, the Ministry has been in regular contact with the affected residents and provided updates to explain progress. Whenever a resident has complained of discoloured water, staff from water section have gone out to the home to investigate immediately. Civil servants in the Ministry have made this a priority and have been working through all weather to address these issues and should be commended for their efforts.

“It should also be noted that Mr. Smith has repeatedly called the Ministry to check in on the progress being made to this issue. The truth of the matter is that this problem has been known about for several years and was ignored by the former government.

“Despite the financial constraints imposed on us currently due to the former government’s spending, this government is committed to fixing ageing infrastructure properly, for the long term, rather than using band-aid solutions. It’s going to take time. And it’s going to cost money. But we are committed to ensuring a healthy and safe environment for our residents and visitors.”

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Comments (62)

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  1. Tiired of it all says:

    It has actually going on for years apparently according to PLP MP Lister.

    But of course that doesn’t play into the narrative.

    • Jeremy Deacon says:

      It’s the PLP’s PR strategy – airbrush the past out.

    • jt says:

      Relatively speaking it was dealt with very quickly. Thank you.

      Awaiting next mouthpiece sound bit.

  2. who said what says:

    I guess the PLP wer perfect. But then again if the wer theyd still be in power.
    Just putting it out there.

    • watching says:

      this has nothing to do with perfection. The point is that the OBA MP knew, the Premier knew, and the Minister knew. And the problem was not addressed until nearly 3 months later. Unacceptable at best.

      • Lol okay then says:

        You know who else knew? The PLP when they were in power. Did they do anything? Nope. Nobody even called them out for it. But Lord and behold the OBA can’t catch a freaking break without people calling them a bad government for not doing anything, when THEY were the ones that finally addressed the problem. So now the PLP wants to act like their innocent.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        The PLP knew too, it was happening during their admin. Perhaps they should be asking themselves why it took so long.

      • who said what says:

        Im assuming the problem didn’t arise as the OBA came into power!

      • Just the Tip says:

        So if 3 months later is Unacceptable what is going 14 years and not addressing the problem?

      • serengeti says:

        Yet Lister said it had been going on for years. Now you’re saying it was 3 months?

      • simple says:

        Its simple. OBA don’t fix pipes. Thats the job of the civil service, or more specifically, W&E.

        If you want to go finger pointing, point at them, and all the die-hard PLP members at the head of the civil service (installed during which administration?) who are stalling every single project in order to make OBA look bad.

        Make a pati request and ask to see the files and correspondence of W&E projects

        • We all know that this young man Rabain, “is a new kid on the bloc” and is out seeking attention to himself i.e. “I’m doing my part.” yet he’s like many others, “who are a day late and an inch too short”.
          [Updated with Minister's response] Devonshire North Central MP Diallo Rabain said that while the P.L.P “welcomes the news that the Government has resolved the brown water crisis” they “must ask why it took so long to remedy the situation.”
          He should be asking his Party,The Progressive Labour Party why had nothing was done under their leadership? (since this “problem” goes back years prior to a change of Gov.)

      • Toleratate says:

        3 months to plan and carry out a project to tear up old piping and replace…. “Unacceptable at best”… I was gonna comment on the dumb comment by Diallo Rabain (seems it was his turn to take one for the team)… but you showed up.
        Here’s a question; IF the problem was addressed when it was first bought to the attention of the last government… it would NOT have been a talking point today…. but we can’t mention that as the PLP is not the government now and all blame lays at the OBA’s feet… pretty convenient… and Rabain embarrasses himself with these ridiculous comments.
        Again thanks to Fraternities Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi, and sororities Alpha Kappa Alpha and Delta Sigma Theta for their support with providing water while the problem was being resolved.

      • aceboy says:

        It was rust that caused most of the browning of the water, as I understand it. High in metalic content, isn’t that what was reported? Old cast iron pipes that needed to be flushed? Are you suggesting this rust began in 2012, right after the election and all these OBA Ministers knew about it but kept it a big secret from the opposition? All in an effort to what, force people to drink and wash clothes in water that is brown for 3 months? Yea, likely. You aren’t completely paranoid at all….

  3. watching says:

    hmmm the plot thickens. If Smith, Cannonier and Dunkley knew about this since February as being accused, then heads need to roll. How many times does Cannonier have to mess up and still be given a free ride? Surely by now he has shown he is in over his head. And Dunkley continues to fly all over the world to Azores and NYC to throw out pitches for the NY mets…but is he focused on the problems plaguing every day Bermudians? it doesn’t appear so. Would Smith, Cannonier or Dunkley drink the brown water they told the cedar park residents to drink?

    • reddamtibi says:

      brown water for brown people…smh

    • NCM says:

      This is ridiculous. The water issues have been ongoing for many years and the PLP failed to do anything to fix it. The problem is now fixed – thanks to the OBA. And no one has ever said the residents should drink the water – they were told it had been tested by the Department of Health and was not a health hazard.

      • watching says:

        Craig Cannonier said the water was “clean, healthy and ok to drink”. Sounds like an endorsement to me.

        • Double S says:

          So the ministry of health civil servants are liars then?

        • Toodle-oo says:

          I bet you’re the 1st person to complain about things being ‘politicized’ and MPs acting like children with their tit for tats too .
          All the while failing to see who’s starting it !

    • Derek A. G. Jones says:

      @ watching, If this all happened since February then you should be praising Cannonier for getting things sorted out so quickly. Determining the problem, designing a solution, ordering all the proper systems and parts, digging up the old lines and putting in the new systems all within 8 weeks is incredible. Most likely the reality is this has been worked on since Glen Smith first heard about it and gave W&E the heads up on it needing fixing which sounds more plausible.

      And it’s the New York Yankees vs The Boston Red Sox game, Premier Dunkley is pitching at. Go Red Sox!

  4. Sarai says:

    Why wasn’t the problem fixed under the PLP??? It takes many years for things like this to build up. And it was in the process of being fixed by the OBA, the OBA followed through and fixed it. All of a sudden the PLP are making noise about it to score political points. It has been fixed now, why is Rabain still making noise about it? Rabain and/or colleagues should have put this same pressure on their own government. Way too late for outrage now PLP!

    • Lol okay then says:

      THANK YOU! My thoughts exactly!

  5. Concerned says:

    Remember Robain is new to politricks so has to get his feet wet somewhere

    • Toleratate says:

      With these dumb comments he sure is showing it. I haven’t heard such a ridiculous statement since the other rookie complained about the Rhode Island Fast Ferry being here…. which his OWN party facilitated (and it actually was a good idea).
      Engage brain before opening mouth”…..

  6. Blind sheep says:

    Yes. Cauese we make everything on this islans at a moments notice and nothing needs to bw shipped in……

  7. Wayne Wonders says:

    You know, this is getting so old. The consistent blaming of the PLP for ALL of the island’s woes when in fact it was YOUR party who failed to put the planned maintenance procedures in place from the outset.

    THAT would have enabled the PLP to carry out the prescribed PM on ALL systems and infrastructure. Who built the failing systems, the buildings that are in such a bad state and everything else that is falling apart?…..yup you guessed it right..the UBP, big brother of the OBA!!

    So Sarai,NCM, Jeremy Deacon and all the rest who think like you, why don’t YOU look in the past before you blame PLP who were in for 14 years as opposed to 400!!

    While you are all plotting over the weekend, why don’t you download the CURM paper written by Lynne Whitfield and then ask yourselves why THOSE things weren’t rectified!!

    • Double S says:

      Are you really blaming a Party that hasn’t been in power for 18 years? Hahahaha. You mean the PLP, in 14 years, were unable to come up with a maintenance plan.

      PLP found all sorts of money for golf courses and condos, but couldn’t find funds for ageing pipes?

      Your excuses are pathetic.

      PS: Who increased our deficit >2600% in less than 10 years which resulted in $400k a day in interest payments for the island?

      Once you answer that question in a truthful manner then you will see why we are where we are as of today. But I know responsibility isn’t a strong suit of the PLP or their supporters.

      • Tolerate says:

        But Double S; we was told the money was used on upgrading Bermuda’s infrastructure… you know like the Causeway, St. George Bridge, the Airport… Oh, wait…

      • aceboy says:

        He’s saying that the UBP didn’t leave the PLP with a detailed handbook on how to run the country and therefore it is their (the UBP’s) fault for the abysmal record of the PLP’s 14 years in power.

        I was at a Rotary meeting in 2004/5 in which Sir John, the guest speaker, gave a speech completely lambasting the PLP for their complete ignoring of the infrastructure issues that existed at that time. It was not the speech he was supposed to give and he gave it anyway. The PLP supporters in the room all left in a huff.

  8. Wayne Wonders says:

    Typo….the CURB paper…oh and see how fast we can correct things!

  9. stunned... says:

    Mr. Rabain has done such a good job with getting the water situation sorted out, perhaps he can turn his diligence towards resolving the quandry of the double and unaccounted for payment of BMD$807,000 to the Trustees of the Sandys 360 Facility.

    or, instead of wasting more time and money, the Bermuda government can claim/own the Sandys facility for $807,000 (already paid to the Trustees (oxymoron)) and call it a day.

    • sara says:

      Yes since these lot in the PLP are hell bent on making sure the OBA follows through with good governance then perhaps they can get to work finding all the missing money as that would REALLY REALLY REALLY help the struggling Bermudians right now. Chop chop PLP times a wasting FIND THAT MONEY! Bermuda for Bermudians

  10. King Jammys says:

    Diallo we have been over this before…PLP spent more money than what we received in taxation. BDA is broke dude PLP killed the golden goose.

    • Anbu says:

      U will never in a billion years get a pee el pee voter to admit that or even acknowledge that tho.

  11. Lois Frederick says:

    We’ll have to forgive the young buck. How many years has this been a problem?? In terms of govt response this was handled at light speed.

  12. You can’t Win. There’s a problem. The government gets it fix, and now you’re saying , ” why did it take so long?” The problem was there for over 20 years. The PLP did nothing. Let’s move on.

  13. Unbelievable says:

    Man, the PLP have some nerve trying to make this a OBA-created issue. Some nerve. I don’t know how people can support the PLP when they just make stuff up all the time.

  14. wondering says:

    the point is that if it only took one day according to most media outlets, then why so long

    don’t forget that two GOVTs took this long to do it BUT don’t make that the issue

    the result doesn’t befit the amount of complaining it took to fix what appears to be a SIMPLE fix.

    short version – when you are responsible, GET ON WITH THE PEOPLE’s BUSINESS IN a SHORT, SHARP MANNER and you won’t have to play the political blame game!!!

    glad it has been resolved

  15. Enough says:

    Diallo Rabain – I bet that water tastes better than currently having your foot in your mouth.

    If you don’t know what you are talking about then remain quiet. Clueless.

  16. george says:

    same reason we dunno where the millions went

  17. Young Person Talking says:

    Since we have money for the Americas Cup the New Airport and the Morgan’s Point project plus money to send Mr. Dunkley around the Azores and to New York can the Govt. now find money to open up jobs within the govt instead of having a hiring freeze in all jobs within govt. yes their are jobs on the Bermuda Job Board but tell me why are most of them saying you need a BC degree or university degree for the simplest jobs to pay you almost next to nothing and for restaurant jobs that want to pay you full time that only includes hip insurance and then you have the part-time positions that pay without insurance and you have to choose between in paying rent or going to a doctor because you have a medical condition that’s what are young ppl are going through and we have degrees in areas that are needed for instance the healthcare sector but yet they want you to have years of experience which makes no sense to me if you are getting experience while earning your degree. Its like nobody is giving young Bermudians a chance anymore even if they have had years of experience um just saying and if you know of any organization who is willing to hire young Bermudans between ages of 25-30 who has actually had experience and earned a degree than the government are to show us a job that is who is willing to hire full time. I had a interview recently and the only reason why I didn’t get the job because it was contract renewal and was told govt isn’t hiring this is so wrong here I guess I must be stupid to have gone to school and got a education and even though I have had experience I’m still not good enough I might as well just not have gone away to school than. The job situation really needs to be fixed and looked at sooner than later I hate seen our Island being under attack with robberies taken place we young ppl just don’t feel safe nomore .

    • Cedar stump says:

      The worst english grammar and puncuation I have seen in a long time. Could be part of your issue with finding a job ! What is a BC ? Did you mean a BSc ?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Your entire statement is a highly probable reflection as to why you are having trouble getting a job, especially if this is a reflection of how you interviewed… also if you interviewed for a position that was only for a renewal, odds are you would not have been interviewed. That aside, you seem to also be missing the point as to why there is a hiring freeze at government, it is the long term plan to permanently reduce the government expenditures to levels that are sustainable to revenues, while the monies being put to the AC are being done so to stimulate our economy. As for the airport and Morgan’s Point, government hasn’t put any money to them. If it is employment you are seeking, you would do better to present yourself as an independent thinker and not as a regurgitator of debunked myopic misinformation.

    • aceboy says:

      You want government to open up jobs????? You want MORE Civil Servants? It certainly wasn’t an economics degree you received and your writing indicates it wasn’t an English degree either.

    • scoob says:

      Government can’t just employ more people. That won’t solve anything.

      Every person that the government employs costs the country money. These all have to be paid for by taxes from the private sector.

      A government’s employees should be as few as possible to get the job done.

    • stunned... says:

      Dear YPT, it is easy to kick a person when they are already down so I will refrain from singling out your grammar and composition. From your post I gather that you are frustrated because it seems as if you tried to do the right thing to advance yourself via an education but doors are being closed to your upward mobility. If you haven’t been told, you and your support system should be congratulated for making it thus far.

      There are several dynamics that are creating a hinderance to your search for employment such as the age-old education/experience quandry; a government freeze on hiring, a stagnant economy and a general investor cautiousness about the future.

      Notwithstanding, there are things you can do in the meantime, read. Really look at and critique yourself – how are you presenting yourself in the interviewing process? Ask yourself if your frustration is seeping through unconsciously? Do your writing skills need to be improved – if so, seek assistance, get on-line help. Are your job expectations realistic? Enlist the help of a friend to do mock interviews to hone your interview performance. Figure out what you do well and how you can turn it into a business.

      Finally, see yourself as a job creator instead of a job seeker. I’m sure you have ideas. Remember, sometimes, the degree that you studied for is just the beginning of the journey and is a stepping stone to what you end up doing professionally.

      Most importantly: never give up.

      I hope you find something useful in the above.

  18. Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

    Do Rabain and company give any thought to issues before opening their mouths.
    Or do they have severe cases of selective amnesia, or even worse,do they think most of us are stupid?

  19. Thw oba/ubp Minister responsible for the Prospect residents’ bad state of water, couldn’t care less.
    Thanks to Mr. Diallo Rabain and his pressure, the residents NOW have success.
    This fact proves that oba/ubp do not care about the lives of Bermudians and MUST be removed.
    Probably hoped that the residents would vanish…..perish!!!

    STAY ALERT AND AWAKE, BERMUDIANS. This Government is BAD NEWS for all of us!!!!!!!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So then where was Mr. Rabain’s pressure on the PLP to resolve this when it first appeared during their admin, or are the people not allowed to talk about that dirty secret… water under the bridge???

    • Torian says:

      Lmao dude. You do realize this problem has been happening for 6 years right? Guess who was in power back then. This youngin just smelling himself with his money hungry party trying to get back into the island coffers.

    • I got to much brains says:

      Blah Blah Blah Blah Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

    • Tolerate says:

      Sir, step back from the keyboard.

  20. george says:

    if the shadow ministers party ever get into power again we all will be watching how fast he gets thing done (under budget of course) we will make him eat his words here

    • Rockfish#1 and#2 says:

      Under budget?
      Surely you jest!

  21. Common Sense says:

    It would be very interesting to hear exactly when the first complaints were made to Works and Engineering or the Health Department about this water problem. There appears to be no doubt that complaints were made well before the OBA took over Government because this has been confirmed by the PLP’s own M.P. Dennis Lister.

    There is even some suggestion in one of these posts that it was a problem before the UBP lost power well over a decade ago. I suspect that this is the sort of problem that gradually gets worse over a long period of time, but if it was a problem when the UBP were still in power, it is inconceivable that no complaints were everr lodged during the PLP’s time in power.

    I suggest that in the public interest we be advised of the first dates when complaints were officially made. Mr Rabain may well be correct when he states that we “must ask why it took so long to remedy the situation.” But if the complaints were coming in during the PLP’s reign then Mr Rabain must surely ask his predecessors why no action was taken from the start, and let us know why no action was taken while the PLP were in power.

  22. Young Person Talking says:

    @Cedar Stump you say have the worst english grammar it’s funny how you are so quick to be negative but I know you understood what I wrote and I was typing on a phone sorry I didn’t meet your standards but instead of looking for a error why don’t you look at the bigger picture of me sticking up for the younger Bermudians just saying

    • Ed says:

      Young person please let us know what school you received your BC from. That way we can avoid it for our kids.

  23. Hey Diablo….. S’been going on since before during… And after plp debockle… Chile!

  24. UmJustSaying says:

    Common sense is not ….

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