Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says he will be going to Cabinet to seek more funds for the provision of water to communities that are severely affected by the current dry conditions.
“We are going to be doing an assessment of what is happening across the country, and once we have concluded, I am going to be making a submission to Cabinet,” he said, indicating that this will be done within the next two weeks.
Minister McKenzie was speaking with journalists following a tour of the new Portmore municipality building in St. Catherine on Friday (July 27), which is currently under construction.
He noted that, already, the Government is providing close to $170 million to truck water to communities.
Approximately $61 million of that amount is coming from his Ministry, with the rest of the funds being provided by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, under which the National Water Commission (NWC) falls.
“We have just released some $36 million, and we’re going to release an additional $25 million (this) week to help prop up the parishes that have become more desperate for water,” he said.
Five parishes – Portland, St. Elizabeth and sections of Manchester, Trelawny and St. Ann – have been identified as worst affected by the dry spell.
Meanwhile, the Minister warned that trucks transporting water to affected communities must meet the requirements under the Public Health Regulations, which require them to be sanitised and certified.
He indicated that he has been receiving “numerous complaints” about vehicles that have not met the requirements.
“The Government is not prepared to risk the health of the citizens just because persons are against following what the requirements are,” he declared.
Photo: Rudranath Fraser