Wed | Feb 19, 2020

French ambassador pledges to help Clarendon ease water problems

Published:Monday | January 20, 2020 | 12:25 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
From left: French Ambassador Denys Wibaux, May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh and councillor of the Palmers Cross division, Carlene Benjamin, touring the Portland Bight Discovery Centre in Salt River, Clarendon, earlier this month.
From left: French Ambassador Denys Wibaux, May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh and councillor of the Palmers Cross division, Carlene Benjamin, touring the Portland Bight Discovery Centre in Salt River, Clarendon, earlier this month.

Wowed by the beauty of Clarendon on a recent tour, French Ambassador Denys Wibaux has promised to help the mid-island parish to introduce strategies to reduce the impact of climate change and ways to curtail beach erosion.

Wibaux, who was welcomed at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation before he began his January 8 tour, visited May Pen, Salt River Mineral Bath, Welcome Beach, the Portland Bight Discovery Centre in Salt River, and the White Sand Beach in Rocky Point, Clarendon.

The ambassador’s trip to Clarendon was spurred by an invitation from May Pen Mayor Winston Maragh, who is hoping it could spark a fruitful relationship.

“I invited the ambassador to see things in May Pen and to see what kind of relationship we can build. Jamaica is a developing country and so we are hoping that France, as a developed country, can assist us in achieving our 2030 Sustainability Development Goals,” Maragh said, adding that a closer bond with France could yield positive impact in the areas of agriculture, climate change and sustainable development.

Impressed by the beauty

Wibuax, who said he was elated at the mayor’s invitation, noted that the parish’s emphasis on sustainable development was evident and commendable.

“I am very happy to be in Clarendon. I am impressed by the beauty, but I am most impressed by the quality of the people and the importance you put on community development and sustainability,” he said.

Wibaux added that the parish was equipped with the human resources, but there was need for more technical support and advice to achieve development, which he pledged to provide.

“France has huge experience in water management and irrigation,” he pointed out.

On the subject of climate change, Eleanor Coombs-Waite, disaster coordinator at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation, said the parish has many communities which are susceptible to flooding, naming the fishing village of Rocky Point as one such area.

“Rocky Point is at great risk. Our vibrant fishing communities are affected and are vulnerable to flooding,” she said.

“The parish has been having longer dry seasons and shorter wet seasons,” Coombs-Waite added.

She said that the livelihoods of famers have also been affected owing to low production as a result of water shortage.

“Climate change has also put a strain on our agricultural sector,” she said, as she painted a picture for the ambassador.

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