Former Public Utilities Minister Ganga Singh has been appointed acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA). This is the third appointment of a CEO at the State-run company since January. Dr Jim Lee Young and British national Andrew Smith each served four months before resigning. Singh served as Public Utilities Minister from 1995 to 2001 after the United National Congress won the general election for the first time.
He is a co-host of the Morning Panchayat on 106.1 fm and was the MP for Caroni East. Efforts to contact Singh were futile. During that time, Public Utilities Minister Emmanuel George was Singh's permanent secretary. George made the announcement during a media conference at the ministry's offices, Elizabeth Street, St Clair, yesterday. He said the purpose of the media conference was to inform the nation about WASA's proposals to bring relief to customers affected by an inadequate and unreliable supply of water. Additionally, he said, it was "to inform of certain developments at WASA. George said Smith had tendered his resignation "in recognition of the May 24 general election by the people of T&T of a new Government." His resignation comes into effect from July 31.
Smith was appointed by the previous administration on April 12.
George said one of the first tasks of the new board after it is appointed would be to appoint a CEO. "In the meantime, however, and until such an appointment is made, I have taken the decision to appoint Mr Ganga Singh as acting chief executive officer of the Water and Sewerage Authority," he added. He said WASA had set a target to provide water at least two days a week to the population within the first year of Government's mandate. He added: "The goal to supply water a minimum of two days a week to those who currently receive a supply less than that or none at all within a year is, you will agree, a formidable task and this is the major reason for my decision to have Mr Ganga Singh take on the task of chief executive officer.
"Having worked with Mr Ganga Singh previously, I am aware that he is experienced and quite knowledgeable about the Water and Sewerage Authority and of the issue of delivering water to the population, and the population, I think, is quite aware of his competence. 'We cannot afford the luxury of a lacuna at the level of the chief executive officer," George said. The minister said areas which fall under the Point Fortin, Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo, Mayaro/Rio Claro, Princes Town, Debe/Penal and Siparia Regional Corporations were the worst served. Those areas had the highest percentage of customers who received a class five supply of water which was less than two days a week, he added. George said in order to achieve the goal of providing water two days a week to the entire population within a year, he needed people who could "hit the ground running."
WASA's immediate tasks/plans:
�2 Ensure each community receives water at least two days a week;
�2ensure approximately 50,000 standpipe customers are connected to WASA's network;
�2 a comprehensive plan to identify long-term improvements;
�2 issues of transparency and accountability;
�2 customer service; and,
�2 project deadlines.