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LETTER OF THE DAY - Shoddy governance, lack of foresight causing water woes

Published:Thursday | July 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM


There is no water, and it is simply due to the Government's negligence. Our leaders know that we have a period of drought followed by a period of rain every year, yet no preparation was made to avert the water shortage. Sir, I really don't believe the excuses. We should not be going through the agony of a water shortage in the land of wood and water. With a shortage of jobs and now a shortage of water, I feel uncared for.

The National Water Commission (NWC) has not been getting water to all Jamaicans and its failure to provide it has had adverse effects on our livelihood. Living in rural St James has made me aware of how much more work the NWC needs to do to provide potable water. In 21st century Jamaica, people still have to walk long distances to the nearest standpipe to get water for domestic purposes. It is a grave injustice and only by divine intervention are we surviving, because if it doesn't rain, or there isn't a nearby river, the suffering from the lack of piped water would be catastrophic.

I recently read an article on Yahoo News, 'Water everywhere for DR Congo city yet scarcely a drop to drink'. It speaks of a water shortage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo located in Central Africa, where residents of Goma - a city which sits by one of the world's largest freshwater reservoirs and which has some of Africa's heaviest annual rainfall - are suffering from shortage of water. Imagine that! It was an austere reflection of our current distress in Jamaica and how poor governance can wreak havoc on a people. The people of the DR Congo, like us, deserve better.

Sir, it is not a case of a lack of water, but simply a lack of foresight and care on the part of our Government to properly distribute potable water and methodically maintain a stable water supply for the public. Stability just seems more and more dubious in our country.


Furthermore, with the seemingly tight fiscal space in which the NWC seems to be operating, it would be no surprise if the Government announced that it is forming a committee to oversee NWC's divestment sooner rather than later. The NWC has been failing to fulfil its core function. Historically speaking - or should I say hysterically - when a state-owned entity becomes financially strapped, the Government fervently seeks to get rid of it, and I fear our water company is staring down the barrel of divestment. That outcome would not be an unforeseen affair but common assault on Jamaica.

This level of national water shortage really shouldn't be happening and I think it is a clear demonstration of how shoddily our nation is being governed.

Derville Lowe