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NWC, St Mary residents meet over broken pump

Published:Wednesday | October 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer

ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary: REPRESENTATIVES OF the National Water Commission (NWC) last Thursday addressed dozens of residents of Annotto Bay, St Mary, at a reconciliation meeting six days after demonstrators protesting against the company blocked a section of the town's main thoroughfare for seven hours.

According to the campaigners, many of the communities in and around Annotto Bay have been without regular piped water for the past six months because the main pump serving the area is broken.

Moreover, local councillor Dane Golding claimed that people living in areas such as Crab Hall, Middle Bay and Lodge Lane rarely receive the water deployed on trucks as a backup.

During an hourlong question-and-answer session, the NWC's production manager for St Mary, David Pryce, revealed the faulty pump was, in fact, being repaired at the time of the protest, but acknowledged that more could be done to improve customer relations in the area.

Meeting went well

He told The Gleaner: "I think the meeting went well. Residents got an opportunity to express their concerns, which we have seriously taken on board.

"We are making a very special effort to turn a new page and try to make sure the situations that happened in the past will be alleviated through better communication and cooperation, and I think this meeting was a good starting point for that."

Annotto Bay resident Valerie Walters agreed. She said: "The information I received this evening is good because, for the first time, I'm learning there is a schedule of how and when the water will be supplied.

"However, I get the impression the NWC was just focusing on the political representatives to give us information, and that's not right.

"I think they should have a town crier so people, including those who were not at the meeting, can hear for themselves the scheduled dates their community will receive piped water."

Another local, Royan Loble, was less enthusiastic. He said: "I was expecting them to come with a more fulsome response in terms of bringing an end to the problems we've been having.

"I guess they are trying their best given the circumstances, but if the situation doesn't improve, the road will be blocked again, without a doubt."

rural@gleanerjm.com