Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Vaz appeals for water

Published:Monday | July 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM

WEST PORTLAND Member of Parliament (MP) Daryl Vaz has again written to both Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott and the minister of state in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Ian Hayles, seeking their urgent intervention in trucking water to severely affected communities in his constituency.

Vaz said that all funds allocated to the Portland Parish Council for the trucking of water have been exhausted. Since January, the Portland Parish Council has spent $4 million received from the Ministry of Local Government to truck water to drought-hit areas.

Vaz said that although the water ministry recently allocated an additional $500,000 for the trucking of water in his constituency, it was inadequate to meet the demand and was exhausted in less than a month. At present, no water is being delivered as all resources, including $1 million provided from the Constituency Development Fund, have been exhausted trying to alleviate the situation.

Vaz said the drought conditions are not unique to Portland as it spans across other parishes and, therefore, it is critical for Government to put in place an emergency-response mechanism for funding to ensure that water is being delivered to these badly affected communities on a regular basis as it is fast becoming a national crisis, based on the projections that the dry spell will continue for some time.

The West Portland MP is urging the Government to formulate a long-term sustainable national plan to deal with drought conditions.

Vaz also expressed concern that there is only one working fire truck in the entire parish of Portland, and with the dry conditions, there has been an increase in the number of fires overall. He said that just last week, a home was completely gutted by fire in Port Antonio.

In October last year, Vaz moved a private member's motion in Parliament for the Government to address the lack of potable water to communities such as Hart Hill, Windsor, Black Hill, Rodney Hall, Claverty Cottage, Cascade, Regale, St Margaret's Bay and Mount Pleasant in West Portland. The motion is to be debated.