GWI recommits to delivering efficient service -as it observes 15th anniversary
GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, May 4, 2016
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings-Williams has called on the management and corporate staff of the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) to give water and sanitation services the attention it deserves.
The minister was at the time addressing the launch of GWI’s 15th Anniversary celebration, where she noted that the water company cannot boast of a job well done until all its customers are recipients of the same level of service.
“When the quality service provided on the coastland are delivered in the same manner in the hinterland, only then can we definitely say that equity and quality has been achieved, but until then, we have a long way to go,” the minister said, today, at the launch at GWI’s Customer Service Tarmac on Vlissengen Road and Church Street.
Going forward, the minister urged that the water company recommit to boosting its effort to ensure that all Guyanese, whether living on the coastland or hinterland have equal access to safe, adequate and affordable water and sewage systems. “Be committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) six, for us to ensure access to water and sanitation for all throughout the length and breadth of our country,” the minister urged. Goal six of the SDG not only addresses issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.
Meanwhile Managing Director of GWI, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles recommitted to raising the bar on efficiency and effectiveness as the company goes forward. On the water production side, he said that the water company would be moving towards the establishment of a series of well fields in communities. He explained that in doing so, GWI will be moving away from a culture of having its customers’ water supply being dependent on just one well, constructed in the community.
The company will also be investing to ensure that it has the technical capability to drill these wells. Hence, Dr. West-Charles explained that cadres of the water company’s engineers are benefiting, and will continue to benefit from overseas training on cutting edge well drilling techniques.
In terms of water quality, Dr. Van West-Charles, said that the company is undertaking to have, in a short period of time, access to potable water in all of the schools across Guyana, even as it continues to examine a number of integrated approaches to ensure better tasting, safe drinking water. These integrated approaches include continuing the development of a series of mini-laboratories that test the water produced, every hour with respect to quality, Dr. West-Charles said.
Meanwhile, as it relates to sanitation, the Managing Director vows to leap-frog the company’s effort in this regard. He explained that GWI will be undertaking waste treatment systems that not only treat waste, but make water available for other purposes.
In looking to the future, the Managing Director underscored the importance of the workforce and the customer. He said that the issue of fairness and justice to the workforce, and the customers, will be a principal part of the company’s operations.
Executive Director of GWI’s Customer Service and Customer Relations, Marlon Daniels, reflecting on the progress of the water company, particularly in the past 18 months under Dr. Van West-Charles stewardship, praised the Managing Director for implementing small but significant changes that have greatly boosted the morale of the staff.
Daniels explained that under Dr. Van West-Charles’ stewardship, for the first time in the history of the water company, training was extended to all level of staff. “I have seen electricians and diesel mechanic go overseas for training, and the pride that was displayed on their faces when they came back to give their report is really telling…the point I am making is that the common line workers now feel that they have a place at the table,” Daniels highlighted.
In the 18 months Dr. West-Charles would have also increased the stipend of the sanitation workers from a mere $5 to $1500 per day.
Facilities were also put in place to allow these workers to shower at work, for the first time, before they go home. On the side of the customers, within the past 18 months, GWI provided for in excess of 100,000 residents to receive service for the first time in all regions of Guyana. The water company also increased the hours of service at 85 percent of its facilities, and in so doing allowed for several areas to now benefit from 24 hours’ service. The water company also applied new water treatment systems at several of its pumping stations, resulting in over 30,000 customers receiving improved quality of water.
GWI’s month of celebratory activities include school tours and exhibitions on May 9 at all of GWI facilities in the regions. There is also an essay competition, “Providing Equal Access to Quality Water For All in Guyana,” which is open to children between the ages of 9 to 14years. For the water company staff, there will be domino, karoke, football and cricket competitions, cookout, a grand fun day and an award and prize giving ceremony.
GWI’s 15th Anniversary activities are being celebrated under the theme, “Ensuring Equity and Improving Quality.”
Also present at the event were Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan and Permanent Secretary Emil McGarrel.
GWI was established in 2002, following a merger of the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) and the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners (GS&WC).
By: Macalia Santos