News

Westmeade Willows flooded

HAJ denies responsibility for cleaning clogged drain in Portmore community

Thursday, November 23, 2017



THE Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) yesterday denied that it is responsible for cleaning clogged drains, which caused flooding of homes in Westmeade Willows during heavy rains early yesterday morning.

Westmeade Willows, located across the road from the Garveymeade housing development, was built by the HAJ and handed over to residents in 2012.

The HAJ, in a statement after visiting the flooded area yesterday, said flooding was due primarily to the general non-cleaning of the external drains, in particular, the exit.

“This drain has always belonged to the [Portmore] Municipal Corporation and as such is not the responsibility of HAJ,” the statement said. It added that in 2017 the municipality asked the HAJ for a contribution towards drain cleaning and the agency obliged on September 18, 2017, with the clear understanding that the drain belonged to the municipality, and as such was responsible for cleaning same.

“The current flooding is not a result of anything the agency has done,” the HAJ insisted.

Attempts to get a comment from the Portmore Municipal Council proved futile.

A resident reported that the flood waters left her marooned inside her home and prevented her from attending work.

The community association president, Marlon James, said flooding has been a recurrent issue since 2012 when the housing scheme was built.

“We are having flooding issues whenever it rains. This is primarily due to a drain that is located directly in front of the community (which) has not been maintained or cleaned,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

James said the flood waters rose between 10 and 15 inches, “rushing through people's homes” and threatening to submerge their vehicles.

He told the Observer that the association has been in communication with both the HAJ and the Portmore Municipal Council about the maintenance of the drain, but has been unable to get an agreement about regular maintenance.

“Everyone is pointing fingers as to who is responsible for the drainage,” he said.

James said the council and the National Solid Waste Management Agency sent tractors yesterday to clear the drains, but he insisted it was only a temporary fix.

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