KINGSTON — Residents of Cypress Hall and Belvedere in West Rural St Andrew yesterday staged a peaceful protest over bad roads and the lack of a regular piped water supply.
The placard-bearing protesters, who had gathered on the Red Hills main road near the entrance to Cypress Hall, voiced their disgust at what they said was a lack of concern by Government officials and agencies to their plight.
The residents said it has been almost a decade since they last received piped water on a regular basis.
“A over eight years now we don’t have no water and it can’t work. Me want to cook me food and me want water to cook me food,” one angry resident said.
“I can’t take it anymore; I’m tired of washing and saving the dirty water to flush my toilet,” she said. The residents said that water would come for approximately one hour each day, forcing them to store water to carry out their daily chores.
Yesterday, some of the protesting residents clanged pot covers loudly while others hollered to anyone who would listen in order to draw attention to their plight.
They claimed that the National Water Commission trucks water to the area on a haphazard basis, yet they receive high water bills. One resident displayed a bill for $119,000.
People’s National Party Councillor for the Belvedere Division Otis Hamilton, who was on hand to lend support to the protesters, said Cabinet minister Anthony Hylton had summoned a meeting with himself, other councillors and representatives of the NWC to find a solution to the long-lasting problem.
He said an agreement was reached eight months ago and that the situation should have been sorted out by November of last year but to date no move has been made to ease the residents’ water woes.
“I have been beating on the water commission to do something about this. I am in support of this demonstration because something must be done about this,” he said.
Hamilton said that householders have been unfairly billed for the truckloads of water without their knowledge and called for an explanation from the NWC.
“The water that they truck to the area, they just allot that water to somebody’s bill whether that person get the water or not,” he said.
Hamilton, meanwhile, said the residents’ cry for road repairs had not fallen on deaf ears as there were plans to repair the roadways under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme in the next few weeks. (Observer)