Commodore gets second water shop
Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie (left) getting a drink from the new water shop which was opened in Commodore last Friday. Sharing in the moment is Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern Ann-Marie Vaz.(Photo: Everard Owen)

Residents of Commodore in Portland Eastern have benefited from another facility to supply water to their community.

A new 'water shop' was opened in the community last Friday by Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie.

He acknowledged that despite the high level of rainfall annually in Portland, there are communities without water.

"When I came into your community years ago on the other side, lack of water was one of the problems when I toured. The residents complained about no water in Commodore and said that they had to go miles away to get water.

"The complaint was about the need for water in their respective communities and we took a conscious decision to bring water. Therefore, we built the first water shop over in Commodore, the other side of the community. We spent over $9 million building that facility providing over 20,000 gallons of water free to that section of Commodore," said McKenzie.

"When I thought we had solved the problem, I heard 'no', so we decided to put in another system on the other side of the community. This system will provide 22,000 gallons of water. We have built this at a cost of some $13.5 million. We have not only put in these two water solutions and this is not the answer to the problem, it is a temporary solution and a step in the right direction.

"The municipal corporation is responsible to maintain this facility to ensure that it doesn't run out of water. It is the responsibility of the municipal corporation to also ensure that those who are taking the water from here is not carrying it and selling it to communities across the place. There is no charge for the water," added McKenzie.

He pointed out that with the present dry season, Jamaica is getting less rainfall in St Mary, St Thomas and Portland as he pointed to the initial forecast from the Met Service that Jamaica will not get any significant rainfall until May.

"Today I want to announce an additional $8 million that will be provided to the Portland Municipal Corporation for further trucking of water in the parish. We are going to build two more water shops in East Portland to provide more water for areas in east Portland that needs more water.

"As soon as the lands are identified and the procurement are in place. We have the money," promised McKenzie.

Member of Parliament for Portland Eastern Ann-Marie Vaz hailed the late Councillor Derron Wood who pushed for the water shops to be established in Commodore.

"He walked this spot on several occasions and I know that he is smiling today to see the fruition of his and our collective efforts. We heard the collective cries of the community.

"This community and adjoining communities will get the benefit of clean drinking water from this source and I implore you to take care of it," said Vaz, as she pointed to the work being done to improve the water supply to residents of her constituency.

"Two weeks ago the National Water Commission embarked on a $35-million Turtle Crawl Water Improvement Project which involves replacement of one kilometre of eight-inch duck tile iron pipes which will reduce the amount of water we lose due to leakage and provide more water to residents from Turtle Crawl to Boston.

"Additionally, when the new lines along the highway are connected water should be able to reach to Fair Prospect," said Vaz.

"Over the past four years this Government has spent over $200 million on water projects across the constituency," added Vaz, as she pointed to systems such as one in Norwich Height which has seen residents having water in their pipes for the first time since 2019 and an $80-million water project has just been completed in the community of Seaman's Valley.

Vaz also pointed to a $35-million water project for Cornwall Barracks which is in its final phase and a $16.5 million water project at Stony Hill, which involves building and mounting a solar structure and installing solar panel to power the pumping station to supply water to the Stony Hill community,

BY EVERARD OWEN Observer writer

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