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JAMAICA | PNP wants Gov't to address water crisis

KINGSTON, Jamaica. December 28, 2018:The People’s National Party’s (PNP) Shadow Minister of Water and Climate Change, Mr. Ian Hayles, M.P., is calling on the Minister with responsibility for water to immediately address the water crisis being experienced by nearly one million residents in over forty communities in the Kingston Metropolitan Area, as well as, in communities in the parishes of St. Catherine, St. James and St. Mary.

In a statement today, Mr. Hayles said the crisis is entering its second week and the Minister with the portfolio responsibility in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has not yet addressed the issue except for a cursory statement attributed to the National Water Commission (NWC) that the disruption is connected to the ongoing construction in the Six Miles area. Equally, the NWC has, up to now, not provided a relief schedule detailing when water supplies can be expected to alleviate the crisis.

At the same time while the NWC takes a lackadaisical approach to the water crisis, it is seeking to impose a rate increase on the consumers, which will further aggravate the situation.

If the government had maintained the country’s investment in the Water Commission’s rapid response capability, many of the affected areas would benefit from potable water. However, this initiative, which provided relief to thousands of residents in communities across the island was starved of funds and dismantled by the present administration.

“This is again symptomatic of the lack of focus in the administration due to the huge size and responsibility of the Ministry,” Mr Hayles said.

He said further that Minister Karl Samuda who is assigned to the water portfolio, must now provide an explanation and a relief timetable as to when water supply will be restored and what interim measures will be put in place to compensate consumers for its impact on businesses.

“It is a shame that so many NWC customers had their Christmas celebrations curtailed due to lack of water and the situation persists to the point where it could become a threat to public health,” the Shadow Minister said.

He said, in light of the dire situation, it was insulting for the NWC to issue a statement asking residents to exercise more patience, as it is taking more time to construct a workaround to fix the problem.

Mr. Hayles is now calling for the immediate intervention of the Minister and for the provision of the necessary resources to get piped or potable water to all NWC customers in the affected areas within the shortest possible time.

“This applies not only for fixing the broken pipelines on the Mandela corridor, but restoring water to the other parishes which are also experiencing problems,” the PNP spokesman said.

Mr. Hayles said the government needed to show more care and respect for NWC customers who are paying good money to maintain a broken system.

  • Countries: Jamaica
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