Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
EASTERN HANOVER member of parliament, D.K. Duncan, has stopped short of saying the social realities of some of his constituents is a factor which has worked against them getting potable water.
Duncan, speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said in an section of his constituency, the hotels are blessed with the life-saving commodity while the "black people" are forced to carry water in pans on their heads.
"Our definition of drought in Hanover is not that there is no rain, it is just the absence of potable water," Duncan said.
He noted that there is water in the area, pointing for example at the Great River Water supply, which takes water to hotels in that section of the western parish.
"All the hotels, whether it's Tryall, Round Hill, Fiesta, they always have water," Duncan said.
"But on the left hand side, where the black people live, there is no water."
The system of procurement
The MP, who likened conditions of people carrying water in pans on their heads to an advertisement placed in the media in 1972, which detested the way people were living, expressed sadness that 41 years later not much has changed.
"There seems to be a systemic problem in terms of implementation," Duncan said, as he blamed the procurement process for standing between policy objectives and delivery of service to people.
"I have found that one of the major problems we have where you find the bureaucrats even being helpful is the system that we have put in, the system of procurement, which has brought the country almost to a standstill," Duncan said.
He noted that the procurement system has been put in place "in order to respond to the public's outrage at the possibility of corruption", but argued that "we have gone overboard".
In the meantime, Duncan said the problems faced by his constituents, as well as other Jamaicans, is not because Robert Pickersgill, the minister of water, land, environment and climate change, has not been working.
According to Duncan, Pickersgill, who is also his government colleague, has been accessible and has laid out a clear plan for his portfolio.
He pointed to Pickersgill's 2012-2013 Sectoral Debate presentation in which the minister announced that the Rural Water Supply Limited, in collaboration with the National Water Commission, will be embarking on a major rural water-supply upgrading programme.
But Duncan said despite this commitment, the snail's pace at which the project is moving is very frustrating.
"We don't expect miracles, but when you are there with your constituents and the water commission tells them and tells you that water is life, you get some sarcastic letters from constituents who continue not to have water, about their conditions of mortality," Duncan said.