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