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Gonzales: WASA has a sabotage contingency plan

Pub­lic Util­i­ties Min­is­ter Mar­vin Gon­za­les says there is a con­tin­gency plan in place should any of the util­i­ty’s in­fra­struc­ture fall vic­tim to sab­o­tage. He al­so warned WASA em­ploy­ees that any such acts will be dealt with.


Gon­za­les’s state­ments came af­ter a so­cial me­dia mes­sage and voice note sug­gest­ed there could be a na­tion­wide shut­down of the coun­try’s wa­ter sup­ply over the week­end and in­to ear­ly next week in re­sponse to planned re­struc­tur­ing at the com­pa­ny.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

The mes­sage read: “We’re hear­ing that WASA just had a board meet­ing and there’s go­ing to be a na­tion­wide shut­down of WASA. Don’t know from when or for how long. It can be as ear­ly as to­day so fill up as much as you can and let your friends & fam­i­ly know as well.”

The voice note, fea­tur­ing a male voice, al­leged that a se­nior WASA man­ag­er had warned of the shut­down and al­so claimed the rep­re­sent­ing union or­dered a na­tion­wide shut­down

How­ev­er, in a re­lease yes­ter­day, WASA said the mes­sage was fake news and should be dis­re­gard­ed. It en­cour­aged its cus­tomers and the pub­lic to re­ly on com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sued on­ly by the au­thor­i­ty

Gon­za­les al­so said he was not too wor­ried

“When one is un­der­tak­ing this kind of trans­for­ma­tion one can­not be wor­ried. You have to en­sure that your plans are in place to be able to deal with some of the fall­outs com­ing out of this. We ex­pect some seg­ments and sec­tors to re­act and re­al­ly to dis­rupt the trans­for­ma­tion process and it’s how you pre­pare to ad­dress these things if and when they oc­cur,” he said

“We would have done our home­work and have our plans and strate­gies and we are very con­fi­dent that we will be in a po­si­tion to be able to re­spond de­ci­sive­ly to any act of sab­o­tage.”

Gon­za­les al­so warned em­ploy­ees against en­gag­ing in such acts

“We ex­pect man­age­ment to take the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion against any em­ploy­ee who may en­gage in any act to dam­age the in­fra­struc­ture of WASA or dis­rupt the wa­ter sup­ply to the peo­ple of T&T. WASA’s main re­spon­si­bil­i­ty is to pro­vide wa­ter and waste wa­ter ser­vices to T&T and all of its em­ploy­ees must be ob­lig­at­ed to do just that and any ac­tion on the part of any em­ploy­ee that can tan­ta­mount or re­sult in the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the au­thor­i­ty not dis­charg­ing its du­ties to the peo­ple of T&T will be re­gard­ed as a se­ri­ous one and the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion will be tak­en against them,” he said

He al­so en­cour­aged WASA em­ploy­ees not to be mis­led by “mis­guid­ed peo­ple in the union.”

How­ev­er, Pub­lic Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion WASA rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Mark Saun­ders, said the union is not aware of any planned shut­down nor was he aware of any man­age­ment meet­ing which spoke to this

How­ev­er, he added, “I can’t speak to ac­tions that in­di­vid­ual work­ers may wish to take be­cause we have a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion be­ing cre­at­ed on work­ers, where work­ers feel they are be­ing wrong­ly blamed, vic­timised and de­monised

“I can’t tell of how some­body in­di­vid­u­al­ly would re­act but at this mo­ment, I don’t know that the union is plan­ning any such shut­down. I can­not give a per­son­al or pri­vate as­sur­ance to the pub­lic but at this mo­ment we, the union, is not plan­ning any shut­down.”

Saun­ders, how­ev­er, made it clear that the union will do all with­in its pow­er to safe­guard work­ers’ jobs. He al­so said man­age­ment and the Gov­ern­ment are yet to meet with the union