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Rainforest Seafoods refreshes surrounding communities with water

Published:Tuesday | July 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMMikail Williams
These youngsters were caught on camera along Slipe Pen Road in the Corporate Area on Sunday as they made their way to the Rainforest Seafoods complex where residents of the surrounding communites have been getting water for the past four years.

People living in the Corporate Area might not be used to walking great distances for buckets and bottles of water and carrying them on their heads, but that is the current reality for residents living in Torrington Park and surrounding communities in the vicinity of Rainforest Seafoods on Slipe Pen Road in St Andrew.

The residents are suffering from the looming drought conditions plaguing Jamaica.

When a team from The Glea-ner visited residents in the Torrington Park community, there were many persons seen carrying bottles and buckets filled with water.

"We have to walk, get a handcart and push drums," said one resident.

Another added: "No proper drinking water nuh roun' here."

Pointing to her swollen fingers, another resident was quick to point out the debilitating effects of the back and forth carrying of water.

He declared: "Nuh water truck nuh come yah, more time ah Rainforest we get water."

Other residents complained of great distances to fetch water.

"Sometimes we haffi guh roun' Jones Town," echoed a resident of the Torrington Park community while she struggled with her wash pan filled with water.

Roger Lyn, marketing manager at Rainforest Seafoods,outlined the initiatives his company has been undertaking to provide water to residents in the vicinity.

"We operate during the week in the mornings from 5 a.m. to

6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the mornings and 6 a.m. to

6 p.m. in the evenings," Lyn said.

10,000 gallons

The well located on the property was put in to increase the amount of water needed for operations at the processing plant, where more than 200 persons are employed from the surrounding communities.

However, for several years, it has been serving residents who live near the complex.

"We give away approximately 10,000 gallons a week of pure, clean water," Lyn stated.

Christopher Dickenson, director of operations, said this has been an initiative undertaken by Rainforest Seafoods for about four years.

"Half the persons that take water are children, sometimes it's whole families," Dickenson said.

"In fact, there has been spike in recent period in the amount of water we give away."

When asked about the cost incurred to supply communities with water, Business Manager Max Jardim pointed out that the cost is absorbed by the company, but is very minimal.