Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Government has increased the amount to be spent on the trucking of water in light of the increased cases of the global pandemic COVID-19 in Jamaica.
Updating the nation on Government decisions to tackle the virus in Jamaica on Friday (March 13), Prime Minister Holness stated he has assigned Cabinet Ministers Hon. Daryl Vaz and Hon. Desmond McKenzie the responsibility of directly overseeing the trucking of water.
“What we will have to do as a backup measure is to increase our spending, our organization, and logistics around trucking. So, what I have decided to do is to assign Minister Vaz and Minister McKenzie the responsibility to directly oversee the trucking of water. Now, the responsibilities will be divided into two,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister further stated that both Ministers Vaz and Minister McKenzie are to develop plans and schedules to have those public bodies and communities receive water.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness stated that Minister Vaz will be responsible for the trucking of water in the utility areas, paying special attention to public bodies that require water but are being served by the National Water Commission (NWC).
Minister Vaz stated that he is aware of the challenges faced by major and minor water supply companies and will plan for the delivery of water to the most affected areas.
“As one who represents a rural constituency, I am very aware of the challenges that are there both in terms of the major water supplies which is the National Water Commission and the minor water supplies which is served by the Municipal Corporation. What I think we have to do especially in these circumstances is to have cohesion in terms of how we plan and deliver the water and most importantly that people can be assured that they will get paid on a timely basis,” said Minister Vaz.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness stated that Minister McKenzie will be responsible for trucking water to communities that are outside of the utility zone and are served by minor water supply.
For his part, Minister McKenzie assured the nation that he and his team will take the necessary steps to ensure that communities that are in need receive water.
“In the Ministry of Local Government, we have started to create what we call water shops in several parishes and with this added responsibility, we are giving the assurance that we will work collectively to ensure that those communities that are desperately in need of the precious commodity will have it,” said Minister McKenzie.
According to Prime Minister Holness, private contractors will be used to expedite the trucking of water.
Importantly, he asserted that the Government will not sacrifice or lessen the requirement for the sterilization of the trucks.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister noted the work being done on challenges faced by the NCW and assured the nation that the NWC is currently working to repair the areas affected.