We need water, St Elizabeth SE residents cry

Observer staff reporter

Friday, August 28, 2020

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MYERSVILLE, St Elizabeth — Residents of several communities in the Myersville Division of St Elizabeth South Eastern say one of their most pressing needs is water.

Despite the commissioning of the Essex Valley Water Supply system last year by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the residents believe that partisan politics is at play in getting piped water to their homes.

“From I was a child we don't have any water in the community, and we would love to have water. The pipeline reach about a half-mile from where Alpart sponsors the water in the lower community in the Myersville settlement. The bauxite company told us they would bring water to the nearby school, but it hasn't reached yet,” Warminster resident Gary Palmer told the Jamaica Observer last week.

Palmer is adamant that the days of people being fooled by politicians making empty promises to secure votes are done.

“Over the years we been getting those tricks pertaining to the water. Any Government come in right now and give us water in this community, whether farming water or domestic water, we would be grateful for it. We nah talk offa nuh politics. Mi is a farmer, a peanut planter. Nuff man plant tobacco and those different stuff and if we get water, the community can be better on a whole,” he said.

Another resident, Enzer Hill, agreed.

“We don't have no water up here. We woulda like to have it, because we want it, we need it. It woulda help wi out,” Hill said.

The situation is worse for 80-year-old Herby Rattray, who has underlying health issues.

“The problem that we face here is that we don't have no water supply. We have to truck water here, but I have a tank weh never empty, because is me alone live,” he said, adding that he also has issues with dust pollution from Alpart.

“I have to boil my water to drink. I am a sick person. I have to go to the clinic twice per week for medication. I go to the herbal doctor, and the pollution that is inside of me makes me sick,” Rattray said.

“There is time when we have a drought and we have to go to Alpart, so if we get a main [pipeline] come through, I would be able to connect mi water,” he added.

In the neighbouring Myersville housing scheme, Artlin Clarke told the Jamaica Observer that there is a pipeline in the area, but his house, and those of other residents, has not been connected to it.

“The water come inna the line yah now, but we nuh get the contact fi attach it yet. Some people down so connected… A long time wi nuh have nuh water. Wi haffi buy it from the truck. Wi have tank, but we cyaan drink the water off the roof, because the dust a blow pon it,” Clarke stressed.

The residents said they are now hopeful that the next phase of the Essex Valley Water Project that should provide the commodity to all of Alpart's neighbouring communities will be commissioned soon.

The Essex Valley Water Project, which was conceptualised from 2001, staggered over a decade through successive governments and has been a talking point for both candidates contesting the St Elizabeth South Eastern constituency in the September 3, 2020 General Election.

For many years Alpart has sought to alleviate the situation by trucking water to residents.



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