By Kenneth Williams The people of Nevis are having to fork out thousands of dollars in these hard economic times to pay for water provided by a company that received favourable treatment from the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), when half of the contracted amount of water can be provided by government owned wells. Bedrock Exploration and Development (BEAD) signed a secret contract with the Nevis Island Administration in late 2006 and despite calls from the media the contents of this agreement have never been released to the media or to the public. The Junior Minister in the Ministry of Communications, Works, Public Utilities and Post in several statements claimed that BEAD has contracted to supply one million gallons of water per day. A government source speaking to The Observer on condition of anonymity said that the contract called for BEAD to source and supply previously undetected groundwater from the bedrocks of the earth. This water was to be sourced using satellite imaging and mapping and drilling” into the crust of the earth. According to the source that is not what BEAD has done. Instead, BEAD simply drilled high up into the known aquifers of the government’s existing wells. A government water department document that The Observer has obtained shows that nine (9) of the Government’s existing wells have been turned off and padlocked.” This, our source said, was an order from the Administration.” Since BEAD wells were drilled into the existing government aquifer, that means the government and BEAD are sharing the same source of water. Our government source who is familiar with the contract between BEAD and the Administration told The Observer that their action is in total violation of the agreement.” The agreement, he said, calls for BEAD to find new water from previously undetected sources. He said, “The government will pay millions of dollars for water it already had. Government would have had the same result with regard to gallons per minutes had they taken their existing wells deeper.” “The same source continued, “What you have there is some sort of cooked up arrangement between the Administration and BEAD so that BEAD could reach its contracted amount of water by the government turning off nine of its wells which pumped around 500,000 gallons per day.” This is half of the amount BEAD was contracted to begin pumping water into the government water system in mid 2007.” “According to a statement by the Junior Minister for Communications and Works and Public Utilities made on February 5, 2007 “The Nevis Island Administration gave the green light to Bedrock Exploration and Development (BEAD) to commence deep drilling for water.” “After a year of delays and Minister Powell making excuses for BEAD, drilling finally commenced in November, 2007.” Yet Mr. Powell in a statement on September 23, 2007 stated “So work is still very much on schedule.”” He also said on that same date, “All of the technical work has been done and Dr. Skip Hoag has assured us that by November 2007, they hope to have for us a half a million gallons per day to put into our system.” “Powell continued, “With respect to the project timeline completion date had been put to February of 2008. “Drought and water shortages plagued Nevis while none of BEAD ‘s time lines were met. “Water rations, which have not since the 1960s, hit Nevis up to July 2008 while BEAD drilled into the government’s known water aquifers and the government turned off nine of its own wells. Statement of BEAD’s success elsewhere in doubt Minister Powell in a statement the day he flipped the lever for the commencement of BEAD’s drilling told the press: “This company is very experienced in this type of drilling having done exactly the same thing in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Eastern Caribbean. The Observer checked this statement out and discovered that Nevis is an experiment for BEAD.” The man behind BEAD was one of many scientists on the Tobago project which was done by another company. Dr. Hoag was “one of about a dozen scientists on the project here,” a Trinidad and Tobago official told The Observer. “More importantly, Dr. Hoag branched off and formed BEAD in 2005, three years after the Tobago project. “Another area where BEAD’s work did not leave a good track record was in Grenada .” According to Grenada Government officials Bedrock signed a contract with the Grenada Government on September 16, 2005 but failed to fulfill the contract.” This along with BEAD’s claim to have done the Trinidad and Tobago project when at the time of that project BEAD did not exist creates doubt as to whether BEAD and/or Powell set out to deliberately mislead the people of Nevis. BEAD appears to be also involved in a geothermal development project. However, despite calls for transparency, the extent and nature of BEAD’s involvement remains shrouded in secrecy.
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