JAMAICA – No relief from sewage overflow
KINGSTON –– Residents of a section of North Street in downtown Kingston are still grappling with an overflow of raw sewage from a broken main, nearly five months after they were promised that the problem would be rectified.
The Jamaica Observer first highlighted the problem in late March, at which time Kingston Central Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites, in whose constituency the area sits, said that he had “dispatched the councillor candidate to the site to explain to the residents and to ensure that work is done”.
Last Thursday, one resident, Marlon Shaw, told the Observer that the councillor candidate for the division had indeed visited the area along with personnel from the National Water Commission (NWC), who did some work. However, the problem persists.
“It still deh deh, so obviously Mr Thwaites not doing nothing, neither dem not doing nothing,” complained Shaw, who was very vocal about the situation when the Observer visited in March.
“…How can you be solving a problem and yuh going to dig up somewhere and when yuh done dig up and put back weh yuh a put in, yuh don’t come back and inspect if the problem solve? What kind of work that unnu a do? That is no work,” a frustrated Shaw complained.
He said residents have grown tired of the situation and plan to protest to get the attention of the authorities.
“To be honest, only thing dem people yah inna Parliament and dem place deh respect is aggression; that is the only thing dem respect. If yuh don’t come out come bun the tyre and block road yuh don’t get attention from dem,” Shaw said.
“No matter how much phone call yuh mek, yuh go a dem office go visit dem and dem tell yuh seh, ‘Yeah mon, mi soon send somebody come’, and yuh don’t see nobody come fi all weeks. As soon as dem hear seh a roadblock mount and police haffi come yah come terrorise people, a di only time yuh get attention from dem,” Shaw said.
Eighty-one-year-old Nehemiah Vale, a shopkeeper for 32 years, said the stench from the sewage is unbearable.
“Mi waan know what is going on, because when yuh pay water rate yuh pay fi sewage,” Vale said, noting that that he was a paying customer of the NWC.
When contacted Thursday, Thwaites made reference to the presentation made by minister with responsibility for water and housing, Dr Horace Chang, in the sectoral debate last month that the Government plans to carry out necessary work on North Street.
He also said that he understood the residents’ discomfort and that he had contacted the NWC to have a vacuum truck remove the overflowing sewage from time to time.