MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Manchester Parish Development Committee (PDC) Chairman Anthony Freckleton has reiterated his call for greater expenditure in this south-central parish from revenue earned in the bauxite industry.
"We pledge to continue to advocate for an agreed percentage of the bauxite levy to be used to fund a capital budget at the municipal corporation to be used for specific projects in our mined-out communities. This is a special fund we want to set up to enable our beloved parish to be recognised in short order," he said at the PDC's annual general meeting in Mandeville on July 28.
Freckleton, who has long called for specific allocations to be made for infrastructure maintenance and development of areas in Manchester that have been mined and where residents have been resettled, said more needed to be done to alleviate the supply of water in bauxite-affected communities.
He pointed to areas in south Manchester where there is no potable water.
"The community of Harmons has been advocating for a domestic water supply system. so much so that... it is the bauxite company that has to truck water there," he said.
"Jamalco, in 2017, took possession of a well down there. You know the amount of water that this well has? 564 million cubic metres of water. A cubic metre of water is about 264 gallons, so there is an abundance of water. They [Jamalco] have enough water from that John Robinson Well, which has been capped from 2017, and the poor people are suffering for water," he added.
Freckleton said following the Manchester Bauxite and Alumina Industry Conference in May, he met with the Jamaica Bauxite Institute (JBI), the Ministry of Mining and Jamalco to discuss the issue.
"The PDC is now finalising a project proposal to be submitted to the Ministry of Mining, the Planning Institute of Jamaica to finally get that well operational," he said.
Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western Mikael Phillips supported the PDC's lobby for greater expenditure from the bauxite levy to mined-out communities.
"I encouraged them to carry a resolution, the PDC itself, to increase the percentage that comes back to the bauxite-affected communities from the levy that is paid over to the Government. As it is now, majority of it goes towards the central Government in the budget from JBI and more needs to be given to the communities," said Phillips.