The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Governments concern about water problems.

10021150The following is taken from the “Saba Herald” of January 24th, 1992:

Lt. Governor Sydney Sorton, Commissioner Roy Smith, Senator Will Johnson and Mr. Dave Levenstone held discussions at the Administration Office with Mr. John van Dyke, president of Dakota Water Systems from the U.S.A. The discussion centered around the water problem on the island. Mr. van Dyke was invited to Saba by the Executive Council. After reading an advertisement in a magazine I contacted Dakota Water Systems to find out if they would be interested in setting up a reverse osmosis water plant on Saba. The discussion with Mr. van Dyke was very fruitful, he showed much interest in the island and is willing to set up a water plant on the island at no cost at all to the government. This will be a private company doing business on the island. The government and the people of Saba will be able to purchase water from the company, with this the Executive Council feels that it will help to solve our water problems in times of drought. Mr. van Dyke has committed himself by saying that they can have the plant in operation within 120 days. They will employ Sabans to operate the plant. Last year the island experienced a heavy drought and because of this the Executive Council is willing to grant permission to any company that is willing to invest in the water business on the island. If all goes well Saba might have its first reverse osmosis plant by the middle of 1992.”

Before that in the early nineteen hundreds the government built a cistern next to the church on Hell’s Gate. Later on a large cistern was built next to the then Government Administration Building in The Bottom. Both of these cisterns are still in use. In the early nineteen fifties then contractor Lionel Bernard Scot built two cisterns, one in Windwardside and one in the Hillside in The Bottom, both of which have undergone repairs and made bigger (the one in The Bottom) and are still being used. Along the roads in Hell’s Gate and also towards the Well’s Bay several government cisterns have been built by the Saba government in recent years which come in very handy. Plans are for more cisterns to be financed by the European Union. All of these projects are initiated by the Saba Government and have to be fought for to get the funding and to have the plans executed. In recent years licenses were issued to Sabans to operate privately owned reverse osmosis plants.

Under the Administration Building there is a cistern which can hold one hundred thousand gallons and under the home for the aged and the hospital there is capacity for one hundred and fifty thousand gallons. With a large roof system under normal circumstances those facilities hardly run out of water even though with permanent guests, much laundry and so on, they use a lot of water. As a private enterprise whether a hotel is German or from Timbuktu they cannot lay back and act as if the government is supposed to perhaps even deliver water free of charge to their doors. If water is not enough then build another large cistern and it will fill up during the rainy season, but private companies cannot sit back and blame the government for everything. These days as never before private enterprise means just that. No taxes, no community service, no generosity towards the poor, but blame government for everything. Perhaps the government should put the old Income Tax system back in place and do not give complete freedom from taxes for private enterprises. Last year I again paid close to $50.000.– in Income Tax alone. Anyone did better than that I challenge them to show how much they paid, how many indigenous Sabans they have employed, which Foundations are they or their families volunteering on and in general open up to the “other” people living here as to what you are doing other than complaining about the government all the time. Shape up or ship out is something to consider.CIAO


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