Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Water shortage, bad roads, unemployment beating Blenheim

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMClaudia Gardner
Audley Buchanan fills one of his drums with water last week at his house in Blenheim. According to him, his community only gets water in the pipes just about the time of the Bustamante celebrations.
Beverly Wilson shows her last two water bills, which, she says, she is refusing to pay as she is not receiving the service.

Residents of Blenheim in Hanover say that bad roads, water shortage, and a lack of employment opportunities are squeezing the lifeblood out of the community and its sister districts, Richmond and Cacoon.

One resident of Blenheim, who gave her name as Marsha, told Western Focus, during a visit to the community last week, that she was disappointed at what she said was the scant regard being paid to the area by the relevant authorities, despite it being the birthplace of national hero and founder of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Sir Alexander Bustamante.

"Whole heap a years now we nuh have no water. From dem move the pump from Haughton Tower, only election time and Busta birthday we get water," she said.

Marsha said that she was particularly disappointed as the community centre, which was built in 2000 to train community people in various skills, has never been opened.

"A yah so di helicopter always land with the ministers on Busta birthday, so dem must see the condition of the centre," she said, pointing to the site of the community centre, which also houses a football field.

"No work no deh inna di area. Right now mi no want hear nuttn bout no minister. Mi wi tan an raise mi hog and mi fowl, and plant plantain and banana," she added.




Seventy-four year old Aston Buchanan said that the lack of water supply was a burden to householders, who had to be forking out thousands of dollars to pay for water delivered by private trucks.

"We inside this area - Blenheim, Cacoon and Richmond suffer - the only time we get a little water is when it is Bustamante celebrations coming up. But as the celebrations over, no more till next year again. What we have now is a private man who has a truck comes in and sell water usually for $300 a drum, but it raise to $350 now, so who nuh have no money fi buy none naw go get no water," Buchanan said.

Another resident, retiree Beverly Wilson, said that she was particularly upset as she had been getting water bills steadily each month despite the lack of water supply.

"Me deh go a prison caw mi naw pay none. Mi no open dem (bills) again. Mi naw tell no lie. From last year mi no pay none caw mi naw get no water," she declared. "The water system is very bad. My little granddaughter will soon be three years old, and from she born, no water. Since morning me go round deh, and the way how the water a come force, if mi no tek time, it nearly bus up mi pipe.

"You see like how Busta (birthday) deh come deh now, we will have it till Friday (Bustamante's birthday) flush! When Friday done, you no look fi it. When election other day, we get it two day before election, and from election done, nothing. So water flush right now till Friday," she stated.

The same sentiments about the water situation were echoed by farmer Delroy Buchanan, who also complained bitterly about the poor road networks that lead to Belnheim.

"If you check through all the communities, this is one of the worst communities. We have no representative, no water. It is because of Bustamante birthday coming next week Friday, that's why they send us little water. But dem soon turn it off. As soon as Busta birthday gone, dem lock it off," he said.

"They treat us like dogs!" he exclaimed. "The road is in a deplorable condition. Last year, because of Bustamante birthday, they come and put little marl and little pavement at the top there. Little more is only donkey alone can travel through. I am driving a car, and actually every week, I have to be putting on parts. If God no send us little rain, we no get no water. We are suffering. A God Almighty alone we can depend on in this community."