Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Parties promise end to water woes

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness (left) arrives with the party’s candidate for Clarendon South East, Rudyard Spencer, for a political rally in Lionel Town, Clarendon, in January. During the meeting, Holness indicated that the party would be investing heavily in water if it forms the next government.

Jamaica's two main political parties are planning to spend big for the provision of water to Jamaicans over the next five years, should they come to power in the February 25 general election.

The People's National Party (PNP), in its manifesto unveiled on Tuesday, said it would be seeking funding, both locally and overseas, to finance the executing of 17 major projects that have been identified by the National Water Commission (NWC).

The NWC's 2015-2030 Capital Investment Plan (CIP) is a road map for the delivery of potable water across the island through the development of major infrastructure projects.

"Over the next five years, US$1.2 billion will be invested in these projects," the PNP manifesto said.

The manifesto said, too, that CIP will be supported by a combination of financing strategies, inclusive of loans and grants from development and commercial banks as well as tapping multilateral and bilateral partners for support.

The PNP also said that it would be exploring private-public partnerships to help develop the major water systems that have been identified.

The party pointed to the 2014 and 2015 drought, which it said underlines the need to have an adequate supply of water to foster national development.

In addition to developing the 17 major water systems, the PNP said the next five years will see the NWC leading the expansion of sewerage systems in the country's 22 major towns and parish capitals.

"In the next term, US$750 million will be invested in the implementation of the programme," the PNP said.

The Jamaica Labour Party, the country's main opposition, has been using the campaign trail to tell Jamaicans it would invest heavily in water if elected to govern the country's affairs.

BILLIONS IN INVESTMENT

Stating that it requires about US$2 billion to transform the water landscape in Jamaica, JLP leader Andrew Holness said a JLP government would immediately commence the process to make the investment.

"The same way we found the financing to complete the North-South Highway, we are going to find the investments to complete water supply investments in Jamaica," Holness said during a JLP rally in Lionel Town, Clarendon, in January.

The JLP is today slated to release its manifesto, which is expected to provide a clear picture of how it intends to implement the major water improvement programme.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com