Sat | Sep 18, 2021

Water, road misery plague St Mary residents

Published:Saturday | July 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Again, I am compelled to write to your publication to vigorously protest the deplorable social conditions that exist in Highgate, St Mary.

For months now, there is no running piped water available in the Old Road and Dean Pen districts of the parish. Citizens have made several repair requests to the National Water Commission (NWC) offices in Port Maria. All our demands have been met with feeble excuses such as blocked pipes, broken pumps, and no spare parts. This brings to mind the moot point: Who is running the shop at the NWC?

This terrible water crisis is now becoming a serious health hazard, especially to young children who need clean water to prepare for school each day.

Those water woes have now spread to the districts of Tremolesworth and Fraserwood, compounded by the condition of the marl roads. Residents are in a living nightmare.

Because the people of this section of St Mary have no active or caring political representatives, I am appealing to the prime minister, on behalf of the silent majority, to appoint an administrative caretaker to rectify the depressing social conditions.

Highgate is a great school hub. Imagine, no public restrooms are available for the thousands of schoolchildren passing through the town each day.

It is now apparent that the political system has broken down. All the public can hear is government officials clamouring for more new taxes, including handcart men, the saviour of the market vendors, and old disabled citizens who can no longer carry heavy loads to the new bus parks.

Finance ministers are beating their chests proclaiming how much money they are paying back to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). What about publishing a certified White Paper stating who received the IMF funds so far and what they did with it. Has anyone seen a new factory anywhere? Can we achieve growth without production?

The burning question being asked in St Mary is, what is the status of the US$718 million granted by the European Union to upgrade the banana industry in the parishes of St Mary, St Catherine and Portland?

Roger Clarke, the minister of agriculture, recently announced this programme. The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has been appointed to administer this grant programme. Farmers' queries to RADA have been met with strange and evasive replies. However, the farmers of St. Mary are determined to monitor this grant. It will not go like previous ones where the proverbial 'gunfire' was never heard.

Jamaicans must demand from the relevant authorities a published statement outlining how grant money is being disbursed.

Wake up, Jamaica! You have a right to know how money given to you under a grant programme is spent - by whom and for what purpose.

WINSTON COHEN

Tremolesworth District

Highgate PO, St Mary

krunchienuts35@hotmail.com