STATEMENT BY BRADLEY ROBERTS:
It came as no surprise that former Jr. Minister of the Environment Phenton Neymour jumped to defend the indefensible, in his lame attempt to address a matter that is clearly over his head. His role as Jr. Minister, with responsibility for WSC and BEC, was more that of a town-crier than an administrator, as he was constantly in the papers speaking to matters above his pay grade.
His comments speak to one of two things:
1. He was and is still ignorant about the reverse osmosis process, specifically its treatment and transmission; or
2. Was he the one responsible for the removal of the critical clause that saved the contractor millions of dollars to the costly detriment of the corporation and Bahamian people?
Quite clearly his cavalier and ‘know it all’ attitude must have been good cover for, or instrumental in, formulating the decision not to seek independent opinion on the impact of removing the water quality clauses from the Blue Hills expansion contract.
Mr. Neymour must also be called out on his attempt to re-write history, by his continuous claims of engineering prowess and leading many initiatives at WSC, where at the time of his departure, outside of his union activities, he was not even a member of a decision-making team.
As a Jr. engineer, or even a person who does his homework, Mr. Neymour must know any belief that New Providence’s red water issues can only be attributed to aging pipes is false. Red water may be caused by the following factors:
· Age of pipes
· Changes in water flow direction
· Alkalinity of the water (LSI metric) “Langelier Saturation Index”
· Chloride concentration in the water supply
Former Jr. Minister Neymour’s assertion that the “old, rusting lined pipes installed over 30 years ago” are the root cause of the red water problems, is asinine and simplistic; given the fact that he admits the aged pipes were in place long before WSC signed the initial Blue Hills water contract, hence the criticality of the alkaline and chlorine post treatment clauses in the first instance.
It was precisely because of the age of the pipes, that under my watch as Minister of Works and Utilities, the independent engineers insisted that the water quality (LSI) clause be inserted in the original Blue Hills Reverse Osmosis Plant contract. The alkalinity or LSI specification was inserted as a post treatment activity to reduce the aggressiveness of the reverse osmosis water as it is transmitted to homes.
Thanks to Phenton ‘Know It All’ Neymour, we now know that at least one member of the decision making team – a WSC trained engineer no less – was not aware of the critical impact of removing the clause.
What is even more telling is that another documented cause of red water is ‘changes in water flow direction’ through the transmission pipes. This is equally damning for Mr. Neymour and his colleagues, as they also were the authors or authorized signatories for the main replacement exercises done under his watch, which he is bragging about. Water flow directional changes are features of pipe replacement and when combined with ‘non-treated’ water the problem was no doubt worsened.
Thanks to Phenton ‘Know It All’ Neymour, who sat around the Road Improvement and the Non-Revenue Water negotiation tables, we now know that the former administration had to be clueless of the full impact of the main replacement and how it tied into the water quality at Blue Hills. Assuming of course that anybody around the Cabinet table listened to Neymour.
Now that we are all armed with the facts, it is indeed ludicrous that Mr. Neymour is now screaming about an expenditure of less than $50,000 to determine the root cause of the problem, what solutions to employ and in what tandem. If either he or his substantive minister, advisors or colleagues had deemed fit to spend the $50,000 before signing two massive contracts, namely the New Providence Road Improvement and the IDB-WSC Loan, he would have saved WSC millions of dollars, minimized health issues associated with red water and some embarrassment for himself.
With regards Neymour’s claims to his track record versus mine – I will leave that alone the record speaks for itself and I will not compare myself to a Jr. Minister who has constantly demonstrated that he is in over his head and clueless.
As promised the Consultant’s Forensic Report on the red water issue will be made available shortly on the Water & Sewerage Corporation’s website for all to see and to make their own determinations on the role(s) played by Mr. Neymour, his colleagues and others.
Finally I invite the Public to compare the vast world wide experience of the experts who undertook the Forensic Review and compare them to the experience of Phenton ‘Know It All’ Neymour and to draw the logical conclusion.