Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis at his January 28 monthly press conference.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — The Solid Waste Levy will no longer be collected by the Nevis Electricity Company Limited (NEVLEC) as of May 2021.

Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, who is also the Minister of Finance and the Minister responsible for Public Utilities in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) made the announcement at his monthly press conference on January 28.

“The Nevis Water Department [NWD] will be collecting the Solid Waste Levy on behalf of the Nevis Island Administration instead of the Nevis Electricity Company Limited during the second quarter of 2021,” said Hon. Brantley. “The necessary legislative changes, regulations, policies etc. will be put in place.”

Brantley used the opportunity to announce that due to health concerns, the NWD offices will relocate elsewhere in Charlestown.

“The Nevis Water Department will be relocating their offices soon to better serve the public and to avoid a potential rising health issue with the presence of mold at their old office,” said Brantley. “The offices, including the billing section, will be in the Solomon Arcade located opposite the War Memorial in the heart of Charlestown.”

NWD’s disconnection programme will be implemented on March 1, for non-payment, the Premier sought the public’s cooperation.

“The Water Department is asking all people, entities and businesses that are in arrears to settle all outstanding debts with the Nevis Water Department as soon as possible,” he said. “The department will implement a disconnection programme due to non-payment starting March 1.

“You’re given, I believe, ample time,” said Brantley. “Your full cooperation and understanding will be greatly appreciated as we seek to improve the services to the general public.”

Brantley explained the department decided to embark on the disconnection programme because of the vast amount of outstanding bills owed.

“Now why are we engaging in this?” asked Brantley. “The numbers are simply staggering; the numbers are staggering and the kind of people and businesses on the list for not paying for water will make even the hardest heart cry.

“I believe that all of us must play our part, said Brantley. “It cannot be fair that the single mother who is currently unemployed is trying to find a little money each month to pay for water and big companies and wealthy people in the community are refusing to pay. The same is true of electricity.”

The Premier added that it appears there are some persons in the community who are refusing to settle their bills.

“There seems to be a cadre of people in the community who feel that these things ought to be free for them … but the minute that water goes off … are off to the media, social media.

“They abuse everybody because there’s no water in the pipes but somehow, we seem to forget that the staff has to be paid; that the generation of water to bring it to your homes cost money, and that water is currently a heavily subsidised commodity,” said Brantley. “They say water is life but is one of the cheapest commodities that is available.”

Brantley said the time had come for people to be responsible citizens. He added that the Nevis Island Administration is not seeking to put any additional burden or hardship on the people of Nevis. He urged persons to make the necessary payments on their outstanding bills.

“We understand the situation, but I go back to my analogy, it is unfair for the single mother, the struggling father, the old grandmother to have to find the resources to get water and electricity while persons who we know can pay, business that we know can pay refuse,” explained Brantley. “We are getting serious, and I’m making the announcement openly that persons can go in, do the right thing, and if you cannot pay all that is okay.

“Go in and make an arrangement but at least demonstrate you are a responsible citizen, and that you understand that we cannot run these departments on air or ether,” he concluded. “We need those who are consuming to pay for what they consume, and so we encourage you to do the right thing.”