Friday, April 12, 2024

THE LOWDOWN: Dear Froon et al


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I AM DEEPLY honourable that a current PM should personally write to a humble goat-farmer asking for suggestions on the way forward. Yet goats are in many ways like people – they both have “kids” and wiggle their tails when on heat. So I may be able to assist.

First off, however, a little troubling matter. Your letter arrived with neither envelope nor the customary $300 we have come to expect from politicians seeking support. No doubt an unfortunate oversight. Could you correct same earliest? Thanks!

Your Jubilee bash seems to have gone well. But beware! As Shakespeare says: “If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work. But when they seldom come, they wish’d-for come and nothing pleaseth but rare accidents”. Fireworks won’t impress Bajans without water.

So let’s jump right in. Worldwide water shortage looms. California and Australia already recycling sewage water for household use. “From toilet to tap” is the new slogan. Bajans need to wake up and support solutions. We don’t want to go there.

I moved to St Andrew in 1977 with 30 cows only to find not a drop of water in the pipes. Since then we’ve seldom, if ever, had days with 24-hour supply. One adapts.

All my water is fed through water tanks which give me maybe three or four days if the supply is off. A water tank in these areas should rank way above owning a TV.

Get creative

However, water tanks won’t solve the island’s water woes as some areas will still have to depend on tankers. This is where we have to get creative.

A picture is worth a thousand words so check this photo of a government community water tank: Do you see what I see?

Of course! As presently positioned, the taps will run empty even when the tank is one-third full. A Water Authority worker explained: “The fellows with university degrees do that. Any idiot would know to either put the tanks up higher or have at least one tap near the bottom”.

One suspects these may be the same dudes who decided: “Hey, serious water crisis. We need tankers, new pipes, repair staff. Money’s tight. Let’s source funds to build a multimillion dollar new HQ with gym and jacuzzi . . . .”

Old leaking mains should be urgently replaced. More water tankers with several outlets would assist distribution. Clean the suck wells. Put the rainwater into the aquifers, not into the sea. No to de-sal plants.

However, the biggest gains will come from better water management. Most farms have large sheds. The roof area on my little farm is about 10 000 sq.ft., not including the house. If collected, every inch of water would supply over 6 000 gallons. By subsidies or relief on guttering and tanks, farms could become independent of the mains water supply for animals and plants.

Now you’re talking major saving. Better yet if householders were mandated to use roof water at least for toilets, washing and gardening. Simple precautions will avoid any contamination with mains water.

Dr Colin Hudson and the Greenpeace people advocated waterless toilets. It’s madness to flush half pint of weewee with gallons of pure drinking water. I’ve tried to obtain a waterless toilet but costs are prohibitive. Couldn’t Bajan ingenuity come up with a cheap version?

Finally, let’s not forget spring water. The spring at Cleland Hill (from which Rastas collect) supplied the Claytone Factory and Greenland. I used to go with a 1000 gallon tanker and fill in short order, connect to the farm supply and water my cows. Spring water supplied to farms would take even more pressure off the mains.

More to come, Mr PM. – Signed respectably, Lowdown.


Dear Bizzy, Methinks you misunderstood that claim: “Barbados is the freest black country in the world”. No other white Bajans were offended.

The implication here is that the freedoms we enjoy aren’t present in other black countries. Who else has our free health care, education, bus rides, free-for-all fights at fast food outlets? – RH

Dear Chefette, bolt down them chairs! – RH

Dear Mr Patrick Medford, enjoyed your visit. Hope you got back to England okay.

Sorry you misinterpreted me being “on top of Veoma” literally and expected to meet her down here. Blame the Internet version of the Nation. – RH

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator. Email


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