Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Gordon Robinson | Save OLD BC’s orchids!

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2023 | 12:16 AM
Orchids on display
Orchids on display

It’s that time of year (again) when the Old Ball and Chain goes berserk at Government’s inadequate water harvesting and distribution efforts.

That’s all she’s going to allow me to write.

Old BC: Old Grey Balls can say whatever. All he ever does is sit in his air-conditioned study and pretend to work while I deal with the reality that life’s most basic necessity isn’t available. When will those experts at making promises; at telling us what needs doing as they beg for our votes ever provide the most basic commodity of life?

Old GB: I’ll play. What’s that most basic commodity?

Old BC: Try WATER, Henry [A (Domi)No Prize if you get that reference]! WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT! We need it to grow our food; to hydrate our bodies; for personal hygiene; and to keep our surroundings clean so we don’t get sick. Some in rural areas have never seen a drop of water in a pipe in their homes! Think about that! If water isn’t caught from a river, a standpipe or from the sky in a drum, people do without! Many earn zero during every drought.

Old GB: Ok, enough. I think I get your drift.

Old BC: No you don’t. And I’m nowhere near finished. We plant-lovers know plants offer relaxation and a coping mechanism to deal with stress. They are vital to our peace of mind therefore to Jamaica’s productivity. Bad enough Government once again imposed an extra-judicial death sentence for my orchids. It also ensured many plant nurseries lose the capacity to earn.

Old GB: So what do you propose?

Old BC: Oh be quiet. I’m not finished detailing the problems. Restaurant operators struggle to pay for trucked water or close businesses. Some schools must ask children to carry water to school. It’s well known that during these times gastroenteritis is common place because of contaminated water and poor hygiene. In KSA, where single-family dwellings once stood, apartment complexes with hundreds of residents abound. Clothes need washing. Homes need cleaning. Meals need cooking. People need bathing.

Old GB: Don’t be so reticent. Why don’t you say what you REALLY mean?

Old BC: Sarcasm isn’t a good look for you. It’s bad enough you keep hiding my writings on a Tuesday when nobody reads your arcane offerings. Now don’t you tell me that, with business development and population growth added to global warming and outrageous tree cutting to build these monstrosities in “guaranteed” residential areas, it hasn’t occurred to these political and bureaucratic geniuses that we must do more than plant trees on Labour Day. By the way, thanks to Dionne Jackson-Miller for reading my mind. She highlighted the futility of planting trees on Labour Day when, three days later, it’s illegal to water those same trees. Ok, you can use waste water. Who has enough waste water for all those trees?

Old GB: My beloved we are running out of space. Do. You. Have. A. Solution?

Old BC: Any idiot can work out we need to catch the little water that falls from the sky. Any idiot can work out we need more storage capacity. Any idiot can see the water running to waste when it rains. Any idiot can see that the pipes underground need to be fixed even after multiple NWC promises. Remember when Hillcrest Avenue sank due to leaking underground pipes after it was beautifully paved? I believe Matthew Samuda is a hard-working, intelligent young man so I’m expecting him to put all his energy into this vital, neglected area.

I’m tired of being told the only solution is for me to catch water; bathe with a bucket; lift water from ground level; not wash my clothes at a convenient time; and of absolutely vital importance, watch my plants die!!!

We are fed up! You applied for the job! Do what needs to be done NOW.

Old GB: Eeeem, what exactly?

Old BC: Build additional dams. Ensure efficient systems to collect and store more rainwater regardless of rainfall location. All these buildings going up now are nothing but concrete. We need green spaces (including parks); spaces for workers to relax at lunchtime; areas in Apartment/Townhouse developments for children to play; proper sewage disposal and treatment systems without arbitrarily charging NWC customers at extortionate rates. Catchment facilities for waste water in all new developments to maintain green areas should be mandatory. We could incentivise the same at established developments instead of pointlessly threatening prosecution.

Old GB: Yes dear.

Peace and Love.

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com