As water crisis hits hard...

As water crisis hits hard...

JLP councillors object to language in resolution urging speedy fix

Observer writer

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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Some Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors yesterday raised strong objection to the wording of a resolution urging the National Water Commission to speedily alleviate the water crisis gripping the capital city.

The resolution was moved by Councillor Karl Blake (People's National Party, Greenwich Town Division) and seconded by Councillor Audrey Smith Facey (PNP, Payne Land Division) during the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation council meeting where it was noted that road improvement projects across the Corporate Area are playing a role in the lack of water in a number of communities.

Basically, the resolution stated that the “water infrastructure has once again been damaged by the lopsided execution of the road rehabilitation project”. It also stated that “there has been no real attempt by the Government, specifically the minister of water and housing, to solve the crisis”.

In addition, the resolution argued that “the NWC has been displaying a level of incapacity to bring suitable relief” and that “residents have reached the highest level of disgruntlement with this water crisis”.

Blake said that the ministry was responsible for trucking water to the schools in his division. However, “sometimes the ministry does not respond on time and we have to take up the slack”. He said that it was necessary for the NWC to stick to the schedule.

Admitting that “we are facing a water crisis”, Councillor Donovan Samuels (JLP, Tivoli Division) told the council that he supported the resolution. However, he said it “was badly worded”.

But, according to Samuels, by the end of the summer “the road work will be completed and most of the problem will be behind us”.

Councillor Duane Smith (JLP, Chancery Hall Division) said that “in its current form the resolution is offensive and personal”.

Councillor Patrick Roberts (PNP, Molynes Gardens Division) said that the water crisis was critical and urged the mayor to request “the minister to make allocations to get private contractors to deliver water to the people”.

Councillor Venetia Phillips (PNP, Papine Division) said that the debate should not be partisan or about the wording of the resolution.

“We all have a duty to plan to alleviate the problem. We should look past the language and look at the crisis,” she said.

Deputy Mayor Winston Ennis said that while he did not like some of the words in the resolution, he supported it.

Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams, who admitted that his Seivwright Gardens Division was also experiencing water problems, argued that some of the words in the resolution were inappropriate.

“However, I would not kill the resolution because of the wording. We should rise above that and look at the substance,” he said.

Despite their objection to the wording, the JLP councillors eventually voted in favour of the resolution and it was approved.

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