JIS News

Following a comprehensive restructuring and recruitment exercise, the Ministry of Water and Housing has appointed a new management team for the Rapid Response Programme (RRP).
Speaking at Wednesday’s (Oct. 29) press briefing to announce the progress of the restructuring of the Ministry and its entities, Water and Housing Minister, Donald Buchanan conceded that the trucking of water to poor rural communities could not be a financially viable operation by itself, adding, “otherwise, the targeted population could not afford to pay for the service. Notwithstanding this recognition, we have a duty and responsibility to ensure that any subsidy for this operation is kept at a minimum”.
However, over time, there had been a laxity in the management of the RRP, Mr. Buchanan pointed out, leading to an audit of the programme and tightening of its management to achieve greater levels of efficiency.
He said the first draft of the audit which was commissioned in January this year, had revealed two cases of suspected fraud amounting to over $3 million, which was currently before the courts. The Minister said that following the dismissal of two managers implicated in the alleged fraud, the restructuring exercise had commenced with the rotation of the remaining managers to different locations.
The new team, which will commence duties on November 1, has been reduced from 11 to nine and comprises, Manager, George Bent; Coordinator, Western Region, Sheldon Anguin; Coordinator, Northern Region, Paul Fyffe; Coordinator, Southern Region, Radcliffe Brown; Coordinator, Metro Region, Jacqueline Reynolds; Coordinator, Central Region, Sylvia Johnson; Administrative Assistant, Jennifer McLean; and Fleet Maintenance Manager, Fitzroy Hamilton.
Mr. Buchanan informed that it was now the team’s responsibility to execute the detailed recommendations of the audit, including the implementation of a shift system to eliminate overtime payments; making more favourable arrangement with marketing companies in respect of procurement of fuel; complete overhaul of the system of repairs and service trucks; tighter controls to eliminate fraud; more aggressive marketing of the Programme to increase revenue and more aggressive collection of revenue of service rendered.
The Minister mentioned that since the 2000/01 financial year the contribution of the budget to the RRP had reduced from $150 million to $100 million in 2001/02 then to $75 million in 2002/03, to the current $53 million in this financial year.
“We expect that when the implementation of the recommendations of the audit is complete, the contribution from the budget will be further reduced,” he remarked.
The RRP was set up in 1998 to provide immediate and short-term support relief to communities islandwide that had no access to potable water. The RRP has also been providing service to National Water Commission (NWC) customers, in instances where NWC systems are down, as well as to schools, parish council areas and commercial customers.

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