Councillors in Clarendon outline serious water crisis in parish Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

With some residents of Clarendon reeling from lack of water due to drought conditions there, Chairman of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation (CMC), Joel Williams, has declared that he will be scheduling a special meeting with the relevant agencies within the next two weeks.

The meeting will be geared towards finding adequate measures to address the water shortage affecting various parochial divisions in the parish.

Williams, who is also the Mayor of May Pen, was responding to cries of councillors relative to the water crisis and the lack of adequate water being provided to communities serviced by the National Water Commission (NWC), at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the CMC.

He was also responding to a specific call by minority leader in the CMC and People’s National Party (PNP) Councillor for the Hayes Division, Scean Barnswell, for a “water summit” with all the relevant stakeholders in the parish regarding the water shortage.

In outlining his call for such a summit, Barnswell argued that the parish cannot depend on the trucking of water alone if it is to move forward, as residents in 11 parochial divisions in the parish were already suffering from lack of adequate supplies of water.

He said the municipal corporation is being called upon to do more trucking of water, but the money is not there to do so.

“I think the time has come to look at areas where we can do rainwater harvesting, areas where we can build mini dams to service the areas that are now troubled,” he suggested.

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Councillor for the Palmer’s Cross Division, Carlene Benjamin, had questions for the NWC in relation to their delivery of water to communities.

Benjamin said in her division there are serious problems in areas such as Kennedy Grove and Kennedy Glades.

“I want to know what is the problem and what is being done, because the people not getting any water,” she stated.

Also expressing similar concerns about the NWC’s perceived lack of action relative to its supply of water to communities was PNP Councillor for the Toll Gate Division, Godfrey Knight. He accused the NWC of failing to act, as sections of his division that are serviced by the commission have been without the precious commodity for more than a month.

In response, the mayor said he will be writing to officials at the NWC to have them meet with councillors of the municipal corporation.

“I will be asking them (NWC) to meet us, along with those councillors who have challenges, and for them to tell us how they are going to service those areas under their responsibility,” Williams said.

To those councillors querying about whether the CMC has received any assistance from the Government for drought-affected areas, Williams said he has written about the water situation in the parish to Cabinet Minister, Senator Matthew Samuda, who has responsibility for water; and Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

The May Pen mayor said he will be following up on the letters, while assuring councillors that the municipal corporation is doing its best with the resources that it has available.

“We need to understand the conditions that exist out there, and we know as councillors we have to react to our divisions, and we are going to do everything possible,” Williams indicated.