Letter of the Day | As Treasure Beach thirsts, corporate predators loom
THE EDITOR, Sir:
For the past month or so, Treasure Beach's usually poor water service has dwindled down to almost none at all.
We have been experiencing this in Strawberry Fields, St Mary, for years, but I had thought we were perhaps safer or luckier in St Elizabeth perhaps because of the tourist business there, which, of course, requires water.
We have also not been receiving any bills, and today, after weeks of trying, we finally reached someone at the National Water Commission and were shocked to find that the water bill for this month, when we had almost no water in the line and have had to buy water twice, was considerably more than the usual water bill when we do have water in the line?
What could be happening?
As I look around the world, I see that the commodification of water is becoming more of an issue by the minute.
Multinational corporations such as Nestle, Bechtel, and Cargill are implicated in water infringements and takeovers everywhere. These entities often argue that water is a private commodity and not a right or issue of the 'commons' (commonly held resources, such as air).
This dangerous idea is being put forth by companies that seek to control these life-sustaining elements.
I wonder if the constant degradation and ineffectualness of NWC is somehow related to this, as when access to our water becomes so challenged, it is easy for an outside company to swoop in and convince us that it can do better.
Maintaining control of Jamaica's plentiful and excellent water is one of the most important steps we can take into the future. Allowing outside control of our water means that not only can it be priced at anything, it can also be regulated in ways we could not imagine. Bolivia had water wars as a result of one of these companies not even allowing people to capture rainwater!
Poor water delivery and quality have followed every instance of corporate takeover that I have tracked. It can also mean that our water can be sold to other countries and we could lose all control over this precious resource.
Let's realise before it is too late that an effective and fair distribution of resources, particularly water, is crucial to Jamaica's quality of life and fix the infrastructure that stores and delivers our water so that we do not become prey to hostile or malevolent forces.