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Sectoral Debates 2008 - The Hon. Everald Warmington

Release Date: 
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 - 14:00

“Towards Strong Communities, Healthy Neighbourhoods”

1. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND THANKS

Ten months is a relatively short period of time in the life of any Administration, but since my appointment as Minister of State in the Ministry of Water and Housing in September 2007, I have seen what can be accomplished with vision, planning, focus and commitment to the task at hand. For these, and many other reasons, I want to acknowledge and thank a number of people.

First and foremost I want to thank my family, especially my son, my daughter and son in law, for the support they have given me, and for their acceptance and understanding of my many duties and assignments as Member of Parliament and State Minister. You are my foundation.

To the people of South West St. Catherine, I offer my heartfelt thanks for once again giving me the opportunity to serve in this esteemed House as your Member of Parliament.

It is a responsibility I have never, nor will ever take lightly, and I look forward to serving you for many more years to come.

My gratitude also goes out to the dedicated staff who run my Constituency Office, the Councilors, and Managers whose hard work on behalf of the constituents is greatly appreciated.

My thanks also to the many campaign workers who ensured that the election process was carried out smoothly and fairly.

To the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Genefa Hibbert, and the staff at the Ministry of Water and Housing, I thank you for your guidance, co-operation, and professionalism.

It may not always be an easy road, but if we continue to work together, keeping in mind the bigger picture of a better Jamaica, we will achieve and perhaps even surpass some of our stated targets.

I also want to say a special thank you to the Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, for giving me the opportunity to serve Jamaica as Minister of State in what is undeniably a Ministry with critical portfolio responsibilities.

I want to give him the assurance that I will do my best to live up to the expectations of this Administration as well as those of the people of Jamaica.

Last but not least, I want to acknowledge you Mr. Speaker, and all my colleagues here in this Honourable House.

Despite being on opposite sides of the floor, and our occasional differences in opinion, respect is due.

I urge us all to remember that as we engage in the many spirited debates that will no doubt ensue during the course of this legislative year, what we do here is not for ourselves, but for the development of our beautiful country and the well being of the people who have entrusted us with the responsibility and the privilege of serving them as Members of Parliament.

2. OPENING REMARKS

Mr. Speaker, It is a well known fact that adequate housing and proper infrastructure such as water and sewerage services, are vital if we are to build healthy, robust, and dynamic communities and by extension, a healthy, vibrant and productive nation.

The aim of this Administration is to make this nation among the strongest and most successful in the world, and so as the Honourable Minister Dr. Horace Chang noted in his earlier Sectoral Presentation, we cannot fail in meeting our goals for these two key deliverables.

Water is a resource that we have been blessed with, and for quite a number of us, safe, potable, running water is a basic part of our daily lives.

Because of this, the sad but true reality is that many of us take it for granted, even though it is sometimes unsuitable. But without this precious resource, life, as we know it, would cease to exist.

Imagine no water to rinse out our mouths after we brush our teeth. No shower or bath, no way to wash our face or shampoo our hair. No flushing of the toilet, and no coffee or tea in the morning.

Unless we have the financial resources to go to the store every day, our clothes would be full of dirt, stained and smelly which would make us unbearable to be around.

Our homes and businesses would be filthy, havens for disease causing germs, leading to a serious loss of productive man hours from illnesses.

In addition, our children, those who could survive, would almost always be sick and out of school which in turn would impact on their ability to learn and ultimately their futures as productive members of society.

Food preparation would be a nightmare and we would literally take our lives in our hands while dining.

Our hospitals would be unhygienic. Doctors would be unable to perform surgeries and their patients would almost always die from infection as a result of not being able to clean wounds.

Thousands of Jamaicans would be out of work, as without water crops could not grow. In addition to our drinking water, we would have to import all our food as well. Without adequate water infrastructure there would be no tourist industry, and construction and manufacturing would be virtually non-existent.

My point in all this, Mr. Speaker, is that water touches every aspect of our existence, and is an essential, indeed a critical component if we are to live healthy, dignified lives.

Significant progress has been made by the Ministry of Water and Housing and its water agencies (The National Water Commission, Rural Water Supply Limited and the Water Resources Authority) in providing water and sewerage services to the people of Jamaica.

Approximately 70-percent of Jamaican households now have piped water and that number is trending upwards.

But while this is positive news, Mr. Speaker, there is still much to be done, as 20 percent (20%) of households across the country, mainly occupied by the poorest and most vulnerable in our society, still rely on untreated and potentially unsafe water sources such as rivers, springs and ponds

It is indefensible for even one Jamaican to be without a safe source of drinking water much less 20–percent of our population.

It is indefensible that in the 21st century, women and children in particular still have to be travelling for miles to perform the backbreaking task of bringing water back to their homes for domestic use.

It is indefensible the man hours lost to this task, hours that should be spent in productive use elsewhere.

It bears repeating Mr. Speaker, that access to safe water and adequate sanitation represent a significant contribution to the well being of individuals and communities and is part of the basis on which economic progress can be achieved.

Even as I stand to make my presentation to this Honourable House, the Ministry and its portfolio agencies are working tirelessly to build on the foundations already laid, to ensure that each resident in each district in this little island of ours, has access to a safe and reliable supply of potable water.

It means fewer persons, particularly children, will get diarrhea or some other illness from drinking untreated water, It means healthier, cleaner households, and by extension, healthier, cleaner and more productive communities.

But we have a challenge in doing so, as even though there is a sufficient supply of this resource to meet demands, uneven rainfall distribution as well as the uneven distribution of resources result in water supply problems, particularly in areas of the country prone to drought conditions.

This challenge is made even more difficult, by such things as sparse population density which affects the viability of rural water projects; the terrain of the country itself, of which a good 80 percent is hilly and mountainous, requiring excessive pumping to supply hilly communities with water; and the remote locations of some rural communities from water sources.

But we are nonetheless forging ahead, always bearing in mind the universal objective of providing potable water for all Jamaicans by the year 2015 and when I say all, Mr. Speaker, I mean ALL.

The need for water transcends socio-economic status and political affiliations. This Administration does not subscribe to the practice of providing water for some areas, and intentionally forgetting others.

And so Mr. Speaker, in this section of my presentation, I will be focusing on where we are in our efforts to bring safe drinking water, to our areas of greatest need, our rural communities.

Because of the challenges I mentioned earlier in bringing water to some of our rural communities, it goes without saying that rural water supply does not attract private sector involvement.

The Government’s intervention in this sector is therefore critical if we are to achieve our goals.

In order to address this issue, the Ministry of Water and Housing, through its agency the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), is developing a Master Plan for Rural Water at an estimated cost of J$50Million, to carry out the mandate of the Water Sector Policy.

This entails the development of a comprehensive set of plans for the supply of potable water within each parish.

The Plan will identify the areas served at present, and the level of service provided.

It will also identify the areas that do not have a safe water supply, and develop strategies and designs to provide an adequate supply of water to these areas.

To do so, consideration will be given to projected demand, status of existing systems, water resource availability and the socio economic profile of the communities.

The Water Division of the Ministry has commenced the data gathering phase of the Rural Water Master Plan.

Parish Councils Island wide have been engaged to assist with the provision of data regarding access to water in rural communities.

The completion of the Master Plan will no doubt be a useful tool in the efforts of the Ministry and RWSL to implement water projects in our rural communities.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, several of these projects are ongoing and some will come on stream shortly, spanning the length and breadth of the island.

Since September 2007, when this Administration took office, 14 contracts have been awarded amounting to a total value of J$117.5 Million.

These contracts comprise eleven projects in seven parishes, to benefit 27, 212 persons.

It is anticipated that this financial year, approximately J$652.5Million will be spent on projects.

Works to be done will include planning and design, refurbishing of existing systems, expansion and construction of new systems in areas inadequately served or not served at all.

It is estimated that approximately 110 million dollars will also be required to upgrade and improve small Parish Council systems islandwide.

Of this sum, projects totaling J$35Million will be selected for implementation this year.

I will update you in a minute on where we are regarding some of these projects, but before I do so Mr. Speaker, I would just like to re-iterate that providing treated water is a costly affair, involving the necessary mechanical and chemical inputs to make the water safe for pumping to our communities.

Some persons are under the impression that the water provided to their communities should be free. Not so!!!

Whether it is provided by the National Water Commission, our main provider in the island, or through smaller community schemes operated by Benevolent Societies, getting water to our communities is an expensive process, and is becoming even more so given escalating fuel prices.

I would therefore like to take the opportunity to remind the Members of this House that once the initial investment is made and the projects are completed, if persons in the communities that you represent do not pay their bills, they cannot expect to receive water on a sustained basis.

These systems require maintenance and that cannot occur unless the beneficiaries pay their bills.

With that said, Mr. Speaker, I will now move on to some of the projects being implemented on a parish by parish basis.

3. RURAL WATER PROJECTS

a. CLARENDON

Let me begin with some of the projects for Clarendon which is a parish, as we all know, that is beset with water supply problems, particularly the dry Northern sections of the parish.

Some of the projects being undertaken in this area include:

    Brandon Hill Water Supply. The Brandon Hill Water Supply project involves mainly the improvement of intake works and the construction of a storage reservoir. Tenders have been received for this project, which is to be carried out in conjunction with the Clarendon Parish Council at a cost of J$15Million.

It is anticipated that works will commence in the latter part of this financial year.

The project will serve 2,780 residents. 50 % of the cost on this project is being met by the Member of Parliament from his Constituency Development Fund.

James Hill Water Supply. Still in Northern Clarendon, work is 80-percent complete on the James Hill Water Supply which is scheduled to be finished by August.

The project which is estimated to cost some J$15Million will involve the erection of a relift pump station, pipelaying and the erection of a storage tank.

Water will be redistributed from the Kellits Treatment Plant to serve a population of 3,301 in the communities of James Hill, Irburn and Carty Hill.

Peace River Water Supply in North Western Clarendon. A contract was awarded for this Water Supply scheme, and works have commenced on the project which is being implemented at a cost of J$17Million.

The project will involve minor source improvement and pipelaying activities.

It is anticipated that this project will be completed in October 2008 and will serve 3,474 persons in the communities of Peace River, Thompson Town and Wanstead.

Pennant Wood/Rosehall Water Supply in Central Clarendon. The necessary investigations have been completed on this project, and tenders are to be invited in the near future. The project is slated to cost J$5.3 Million and J$7.638 Million respectively.

The Birds Hill/Chateau/Palmers Cross Water Supply project is valued at J$25,060,180.00 and involves the construction of 7 km of water distribution network.

When completed, the project will serve the communities of Chateau/Palmers Cross to Birds Hill in South East Clarendon, going through to Chandlers Pen.

Christiana/Spaulding: This project costing J$30,240,800.00 will see the installation of 9.5km of pipeline at Alston, along the Tweeside main road into Pecham, ending just beyond the intersection with the Grantham/Frankfield main road at a point in Guinea Corn District, in the parish of Clarendon.

The contract has been submitted to the National Contracts Commission for approval.

b. PORTLAND

Mr. Speaker, I turn next to Portland, a parish with adequate water sources but where distribution, particularly in the Western portion of the parish, is virtually non-existent.

Three major projects are to be implemented this financial year that will ease the water woes of the residents of Western Portland.

Pipelaying works are ongoing on the J$25 Million Fruitful Vale Water Supply project, which will carry water from the intake to the main road.

We are currently awaiting supplies of pipes in order to implement the pipelaying contract which will serve Red Hills, Coopers’ Hill and adjoining communities.

When completed, this project will serve 2,080 residents in Upper Fruitful Vale, Rock Hall, Grants Gate, Coopers Hill, and Durham.

Another area of focus in West Portland is Shirley Castle. Design reviews are being carried out for this project which is slated for implementation during this financial year.

The Buff Bay/Windsor Castle project is being carried out at a cost of J$9 Million. We are currently conducting source investigation in conjunction with the Water Resources Authority, to provide water to the additional service area.

This process is ongoing. Some 1,457 persons in Hart Hill and Windsor Castle will benefit from this project.

c. ST. MARY

Mr. Speaker, St Mary is another parish for which we have big plans this financial year. Rural Water Supply Limited has five projects slated to come on stream in this parish.

They include the Hunts Town/Wellington Water Supply which will serve 1,845 persons in the Western section of the parish.

Tenders for this J$40 Million project were invited and we are awaiting approval for the award of the contract from Cabinet.

The Mason Hall Water Supply project, also in Western St Mary will cost some J$190.7 Million. Design reviews on this project are being carried out on a phased basis. Tenders will be invited for the first phase by August this year. 7,500 residents in this area will benefit from this project.

In South Eastern St. Mary, there is the Top Enfield/Galliwasp Water Supply which will serve a population of 746. Tenders for this J$15 million project were invited and returned and are being evaluated. We expect to award the contract by the end of July.

Still in St. Mary, the investigations have been completed for the Platfield Water Supply and tenders are to be awarded in the near future. The cost of this project has been estimated at J$31 Million.

Another major project we have in St. Mary is the Agualta Vale Water Supply which is estimated to cost J$120 Million and will serve a population of 18,538. At present, design reviews are jointly being carried out by the Rural Water Supply Limited, and the National Water Commission. This project is slated to come on stream during the 2009/2010 financial year.

d. ST. ANN

In the adjoining parish of St. Ann, a contract was awarded and works are in progress for a Slow Sand Treatment Plant for the Cascade Water Supply.

Completion of this J$44 Million project is slated for September this year. When completed, the system will serve some 4,057 residents in the communities of Cascade, Battersea, Mt. Moriah, Bohemia, Wild Cane and Borrobridge.

Higgin Town/Bamboo Water Supply. This system which will be developed at a cost of J$147 Million will serve a population of 7,175 residents of Higgin Town; Bamboo; Ebeneezer; Lime Hall; Seaview; Lumsden and Brittonville.

Work on the test pumping and development of the Green Park Well is slated to commence in another two weeks. Pipelaying, reservoir and pump station contracts are expected to be tendered after the amount of available water at the well is confirmed.

e. ST. ELIZABETH

Moving on to St. Elizabeth, Mr. Speaker we have major projects lined up for the that parish, particularly in the North Western section.

The New Market/Whitehall Water Supply is to be developed at a cost of J$150 million. Tenders were invited and returned on June 19 this year, for the testing and development of the well at Whitehall.

Confirmation of the amount of water available from this well source is expected before September this year, and tenders for the pipe laying contract will be invited thereafter.

This system will serve 2,707 persons in the communities of Whitehall, Happy Grove and Newmarket.

Following an invitation for tenders this month, it is anticipated that the contract award for the Maggotty/Carisbrook/Whitehall Water Supply will be carried out by September this year.

This is another major project for North West St. Elizabeth which is expected to cost some J$125 Million and serve a population of 3,850 in the targeted communities.

Brucefield to Barbary Hall: The contract sum for this project is J$8.135 million. Pipes have been laid and reinstatement work has started, but is not yet completed.

In addition to Brucefield and Barbary Hall, this project will serve the areas of Williamsfield and Hopewell.

The Essex Valley Water Supply is a joint venture project with ALPART/Jamaica Bauxite Institute.

It involves the laying of 11 km of pipeline along with the construction of two tanks and the provision of pumping equipment from the Long Hill Well to Nain. Tender evaluations have been completed for this project.

f. ST. THOMAS

Mr. Speaker, Western St. Thomas is another area of intense activity for us in terms of Rural Water Development and Supply. Investigations are ongoing into a number of projects to determine the specific requirements of each.

Work is continuing on the Spring Garden Water Supply project. An upgrading pipeline has been laid from Spring Garden to Finger Post with an additional pump to be installed at the Springfield Pumping Station to serve this area.

The project is to be implemented at an early date pending the completion of the necessary investigations.

We are also working on the Newland Housing Scheme and are looking at possible distribution and service connections to serve the scheme.

The necessary investigations are to be completed and the project is to be implemented shortly.

Regarding the Heartease Water Supply we are in the process of investigating an alternative source, as the Easington Filter Plant which supplies the system with water is seasonal.

Possible augmentation of this system could come from the East Albion system. We are awaiting the completion of investigations into the alternative source with a view to implementing the system at an early date.

Mr. Speaker, we are also looking at possible augmentation from the Trinityville system to alleviate the current situation at the Georgia Water Supply system.

The system which has a projected cost of J$4.26 Million would operate on a regulated basis (perhaps three days per week). The investigations are to be completed and the project is to be implemented at an early date.

J$10.69 Million has been earmarked for the Woodburn/Llandewey Water Supply System.

For this project, we need to upgrade the distribution mains to 100-mm diameter pipelines. As this system may have to be operated on a regulated basis, we also need to investigate the yield from the well at Albion Mount to confirm the availability of the supply.

The necessary investigations are to be completed, with the project slated for implementation at an early date.

In terms of Penline Castle and Mt. Vernon Gap, investigations are ongoing into the upgrading of distribution mains to 150-mm diameter pipelines for the distribution network to adequately serve the needs of the area.

However, once the investigations are completed, we want to give the assurance that the project will be implemented.

Work has been completed at a cost of J$2,861,760.00 to improve the East Albion Water Supply. Some 2.6km of pipeline has been laid from East Albion to Red Hills.

The communities to be served by this system include Dumfries; Grossett; Finger Post to Spring Garden; Spring Piece and Arcadia.

g. TRELAWNY

In Southern Trelawny, we will be sending out the Albert Town Water Supply to tender this month.

Work on this project which is estimated to cost J$140 Million, will involve taking water from the Quashi River, as well as the construction of a treatment plant and pumping station.

The project will serve a population of 6,654 in the areas of Albert Town, Stettin, Ulster Spring, and Freemans Hall.

h. ST. ANDREW

Tenders for the Dublin Castle Water Supply in East Rural St. Andrew are to be issued later on this month, and works are anticipated to commence in October this year.

The project cost is estimated at J$9 Million and will benefit some 342 persons in that community.

i. ST CATHERINE

Mr. Speaker, I have deliberately left for last, the parish in which my own constituency is based. It is a known fact that like Clarendon and St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine is also plagued by water woes, particularly in the drier Southern sections of the parish.

Additionally Mr. Speaker, St. Catherine is one of the areas of rapid and intense residential and commercial growth. We therefore have to ensure that the provision of infrastructure, including water and sewerage is in step with this increase in population.

And so work has commenced on a number of projects in this parish. They include:
The Kitson Town/Point Hill Water Supply in West Central St. Catherine, which is a mammoth project estimated to cost some J$700 Million.

The project will involve :-

    The construction of a control building and Storage tank
    Equipping of wells with pump-motor sets and electrical motor controls
    Installation of high lift pumping equipment adjacent to the storage tank
    Installation of transmission and distribution pipelines, pipeline appurtenances and service connections
    Construction of new distribution reservoirs and the repair of existing water tanks and
    Construction and equipping of relift stations

Some amount of work is being undertaken at present, to refurbish the Duxes/Point Hill Water Supply System on a Force Account Basis.

Minor remedial works have been carried out on the Parish Council’s Watermount system to provide water to Kitson Town and its environs as an interim solution. Funding is being sought for the Kitson Town/Point Hill systems utilizing the Wakefield Well sources, and it is anticipated that detailed designs and implementation will commence in the latter part of the financial year.

When completed, the system will provide an adequate and reliable water supply to approximately 25,000 persons in the communities of Wakefield, Spring Vale, Mendez Hill, Point Hill, Duxes, Guanaboa Vale and Kitson Town.

It is anticipated that there will also be increased levels of economic activity as a result of the improvement in the water supply to these areas.

The Colbeck/Planters/Bois Content Water Supply, also in West Central St. Catherine, is slated to get underway in August this year.

Mr. Speaker, this project is badly needed as the area north of Old Harbour is suffering from a chronic water problem due to the intermittent operations of the main supply.

The project will utilize the existing wells at Colbeck in order to stabilize the water supply for this area. This J$28 Million dollar project will see the construction of a Relift Pump Station at Planters Hall, and the refurbishing of a high lift station at Colbeck.

In addition, storage tanks at Planters Hall will also be constructed, and we will be completing the Bridge crossings, Pipe Works and the interconnection of pipelines.

We will begin as early as August, to install the pumps procured from India, with the additional works on pipelines and a storage tank also slated to commence next month.

It is anticipated that the project will be completed in December this year with the nearly eight thousand residents of Colbeck, Planters Hall and Bois Content benefiting shortly thereafter.

The J$15 Million Buxton Town Water Supply will serve West Central and North West St. Catherine.

So far, pumping plant equipment has been installed in the Wakefield Well Number one, and commissioning is scheduled for the end of July.

The Goldmine/Cocoa Ridge/Belfield/Marlie Hill Water Supply – will serve these West Central St. Catherine Communities.

The project which is being developed at a cost of J$9.5 Million, involves pipe laying works and refurbishing of the reservoir at Marlie Hill. Work on the project is also expected to be completed in July.

Mr. Speaker, we are awaiting approval from the National Contracts Commission then Cabinet’s approval to award a contract for the extension of the pipe laying works at Marlie Hill/Browns’ Hall/Macca Tree. It is expected that work on this project will commence in August.

Work on the J$35Million Colbeck Heights/Red Ground/Bartons Water Supply in South West St. Catherine has commenced and is ongoing. Completion and commissioning of this system is scheduled for the end of August this year.

Mr. Speaker, the rural population of the island is approximately 1,287,408 persons or roughly 48 percent of our overall population of 2,682,100.

The projects being undertaken by the Rural Water Supply Limited, between 2007 and 2009 are expected to impact on 76,559 persons or 6 percent of this rural component.

Our aim is to move universal access to water in rural Jamaica from the current level of 46 percent to 75 percent. To do so, it is estimated that a total of 373,348 additional persons will have to receive water.

Projections show that our current projects will effectively move universal access to water for rural Jamaicans from 46 percent to 52 percent.

We are not alone in our efforts however, and international agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are working with us to help us achieve our goals.

4. GOJ /IDB WATER PROJECTS

Several projects are being implemented under the Government of Jamaica/IDB Rural Water Programme.

The White Horses/ Botany Bay/Pamphret Water Supply, in St. Thomas was completed and commissioned in January this year. The system was developed at a cost of over J$112.4 Million under the Government of Jamaica/Inter American Development Bank Rural Water Programme and is now serving 2,700 residents of those communities.

It is being managed by a Benevolent Society which has agreed to supply water to the communities for a tariff of J$800 per month for the first 3,000 gallons of water used and a connection fee of J$4,500.

Construction on the $50 Million Gravel Hill Water Supply in South West Clarendon is slated to begin this month. The Project Implementing Unit (PIU) of the Rural Water Programme (RWP) has met with the National Irrigation Commission, regarding the supply from a NIC well, and the technical details have been settled between RWP and the NIC.

The loan agreement for this project has been modified to allow for Force Account construction, and the necessary approval has been obtained from the IDB. The project will serve 925 persons.

Construction will begin in August, on the Mile Gully/Warwick Castle Water Supply in Western St. Mary, following approval from the IDB. The project, which is estimated to cost J$60 Million, will serve 655 persons.

Another joint GOJ/IDB project, the Giblatore Water Supply in St Catherine is also slated to begin in August. The project will involve the supply and installation of water tanks and rainwater catchment to each household.

Also being considered is the possibility of a small supply from a spring in the area, to a school storage tank. This project is expected to cost approximately J$20 Million.

5 JSIF/MINISTRY/PARISH COUNCIL PROJECTS

Mr. Speaker, one of the things we also hope to do in the near future, is to see how best we can work with the small community based water supply schemes that are being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.

We have received a letter from that organization expressing their enthusiasm for the idea of the Rural Water Programme assuming responsibility for the maintenance and operation of these schemes.

JSIF is currently developing eleven projects in five parishes. Three in Portland at Bellevue, Norwich/Boundbrook and Bybrook/Skibo. Three in St. Catherine at Church Pen, Harkers Hall and Mountain Pass. Two in St. Mary at Scotts Hall and Hampstead. Two in St. Thomas at Rowlandsfield and Thornton Community; and one at Pedro River in St. Ann.

These schemes are being developed in areas where it is believed that capital outlay by the National Water Commission would not be economically feasible. The JSIF therefore fills this gap as part of the fulfillment of its primary mandate which is poverty alleviation, by finding cost effective ways to provide water to these communities.

However, it is only responsible for implementation and the whole question of the sustainability of the systems arises shortly thereafter.

One of the innovative ways the JSIF is dealing with this is through the whole concept of community built and operated systems. By doing so, it has been able to reduce capital investment costs, and by providing training, the community is able to run the systems. However, what is happening, Mr. Speaker, is that the community is now relying more and more on the JSIF as the overall authority in terms of whatever long term support they need, which is not part of the organization’s mandate.

JSIF is also not a permanent body and has a finite life, therefore it is seeking to get a more structured authority within central government that will be able to give the communities the kind of guidance and long term support they need in operating and maintaining these systems.

It is proposed that an agreement be hammered out between the Ministry, Rural Water and JSIF to see how best such a body could be established to take over the maintenance of these water systems.

We will be having further discussions on this matter. We will also include the Parish Councils in these deliberations to ascertain what kind of input they will want to have in terms of the operations of the systems.

6. SHELTER SOLUTIONS

Mr. Speaker, my presentation thus far, has highlighted some of our efforts to make accessible, as best as possible, water for all.

I will now turn my attention to the subject of affordable housing for our low income families.

We have designed “Starter Home Units” which are detatched stand-alone 270 sq. ft. studio units with a provision for future expansion.

Many working families want to own a home but are unable to do so because of the prices of houses available on the market. The “Starter Home” concept is somewhat similar to the Site and Service Development of the 1970’s but goes much further.

We are providing kitchenette, bathroom, sleeping area, and a living/dining area. There is also provision for future expansion through the addition of a bedroom, living room and patio.

Enough land space will be provided for this type of expansion. The units are estimated to cost J$778,800.00 when constructed by contractors, and $562,000.00 when there is sweat equity from beneficiaries. The units are conventional construction of block and steel.

I have provided copies of the drawings and Quantity Surveyors’ estimates with complete Bills of Quantities for these units to interested Members of Parliament. (See appendix 1a-1d).

These units can be provided to needy constituents through our Constituency Development Funds.

If there is interest among the other Members of Parliament, I will be more than happy to provide them with copies of the drawings, Bills of Quantities and estimates. The construction cost of a two bedroom unit is J$2,165,337.00.

Mr. Speaker, before dealing with the next subject of my presentation, I would first like to apologize to the Government and people of Venezuela, for the delay in occupying the houses provided by them as a gift to the Government of Jamaica, and the people of Old Harbour Bay in particular.

It has been four years since Hurricane Ivan, yet these houses are not occupied, due to the incomplete infrastructure. Every effort is now being made to have the project completed and the houses occupied within the next few months.

The hurricane victims of Old Harbour Bay greatly appreciate the effort of the people of Venezuela.

Mr. Speaker, on August 16, 2006 the then Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, signed a joint venture agreement, whereby the Government of Venezuela would provide a US$2 Million revolving loan facility through the Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela (Banco Nacional de Desarrollo, Economico y Social de Venezuela) commonly known as BANDES, to provide affordable housing for Jamaicans.

This facility must be accessed within two years in the first instance, and expires on August 15, 2008. By that time, projects to be financed through this facility must be approved by the Jamaica Mortgage Bank and by BANDES.

The prerequisites for disbursement are :-

    Proof of project viability
    Project submitted through the JMB to be approved by the BANDES
    A local contractor must partner with a Venezuelan counterpart
    Eighty percent of the project input (material) must be imported from Venezuela
    The Line of Credit must be accessed before August 15, 2008
    The loan is for 7 years at 7% (percent) per annum
    On the utilization of this amount, we will be able to access further funds

The Honourable Minister of Water and Housing Dr. Horace Chang has directed me to pursue this facility with dispatch. I have since met with the Venezuelan Ambassador.

We have sought to have the date of August 15, 2008 extended. We have put forward our programme and have received favourable responses. I have also held discussions with the Principals of Racar Ingenieros of Venezuela, a construction company and a fabricator of pre-fab housing units, with the intention of utilizing this loan facility, to complete the relocation project at Burkefield, Old Harbour Bay.

Racar Ingenieros has provided us with documentation for the New Prefab PC System, which is of pre-cast concrete.

These units will be done in Venezuela and assembled on site in Jamaica.

The 270 sq. ft. Studio Units are estimated to cost in the region of US$39.00 per square foot. Some 25 of these units can be erected per month.

The then Government should have provided 130 of these units at Burkefield for the Hurricane Ivan victims, but only 75 were constructed, as out of the 100- units provided by the Venezuelans for the victims, 25 were built in Westmoreland.

This loan facility can provide up to 200 units, and it is our intention to provide the outstanding units for the Hurricane Ivan victims from this loan, and also begin the construction of the units for the Hurricane Dean victims.

The Minister has further directed me to go to Venezuela to examine the proposed units before the final sign-off.

As far as the infrastructure at Burkesfield is concerned, a contractor has already been selected, and we have received comments from

the Ministry of Finance on a Cabinet Submission for the Project. The Ministry has requested that a number of amendments be made to the Submission before it is returned to them for review, and subsequently to Cabinet for approval.

Mr. Speaker, I close this section of my presentation by re-iterating that every Jamaican, regardless of socio economic status or political leanings, should have the right to live in decent homes, and decent communities supported by adequate infrastructure including adequate supplies of water and proper sanitation.

We have two deadlines to meet…2015 for the provision of Water, and 2025 for the provision of affordable housing solutions. Mr. Speaker, we have every intention of meeting these deadlines. We must not fail.

7. CONSTITUENCY REMARKS

Mr. Speaker, I would now like to look at South West St. Catherine, its challenges, its hopes and its future.

Mr. Speaker, as Member of Parliament, I wish to establish a formal programme of development for the Constituency. In order to do this, priorities of all constituents must be addressed through consultation and must be merged with Government’s overall plans.

The energies of constituents and well wishers must be organized so that citizens may undertake a significant part of their own advancement.

To achieve this, Mr. Speaker, I seek to identify a frame-work through which the citizens’ objectives may be verified and plans prepared to meet them.

There is therefore, a call to action for a nucleus of persons and organizations who are being asked to assist in creating a formal process which will supersede the informal effort at development made thus far by me and other constituency representatives.

a. VISION STATEMENT FOR SOUTH WEST ST CATHERINE

The vision for the development of South West St. Catherine is one of orderly economic, social and educational growth, shared by all citizens. The vision is to be realized through its citizens’ own commitment to, and pride in their neighbourhoods which will be expressed through vibrant Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and through the monitoring of Central Government and Parish Council programmes to ensure best results for every dollar spent.

b, AIMS & OBJECTIVES

The time frame for achieving a measurable impact upon the economic and social vision is three years, during which progress is expected in the following areas, several of which are inter-related.
I. Employment
II. Health Care Facilities
III. Education
IV. Sports Development
V. Infrastructure

    Water Supplies
    Sewage Treatment and Sanitation
    Road Maintenance
    Drainage
    Traffic

c. METHODOLOGY

The approach to addressing each of the concerns listed involves:

    Establishment of a committee of constituency members and well wishers, from whose membership the “Constituency Advisory Council” was elected. Membership of this council is based upon well publicized constituency meetings, at which a demonstration of interest to serve the constituency by consistent attendance was the only requirement. Members of the Council were democratically selected by their peers. The sitting Member of Parliament is an ex-officio member, as is the Superintendent of Roads and Works in the Parish Council, the National Works Agency Parish Manager, and the Superintendent of Police. Meetings are held bi-weekly and a quarterly report of all activities is published in accordance with a written constitution through the Advisory Council’s Secretariat.
    The Advisory Council is responsible for the preparation of the development proposal.
    Each subject area identified or any variation agreed on by the Advisory Council is assigned to a Council Member, who is responsible, aided by the Secretariat, to:
        Co-ordinate all information pertinent to government programmes and their execution.
        Inform and motivate constituents as to how they will benefit from, and complement these programmes by means of voluntary work
        Mobilize funds from private sources.
        Monitor and report on the use of funds at quarterly meetings.
    Assignments are made on the basis of competence and will include: - Motivation and interest - Qualification in the relevant fields- Experience

d. HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

A number of Housing Developments are currently in progress in the constituency, and there are others in the planning and approval stages. All these units are in the middle income range. In addition, there has been a number of developed lots which have been on the market.

Despite this, there is still need for more units or developed lots in the area, Old Harbour being, the fastest growing Urban Centre in Jamaica.

Squatter Upgrading

However, there are still areas where the quality of housing is distressing. These are:

    Burkefield/Terminal Street
    Burke Road/Africa
    Succaba East and West
    Marlie Acres
    Old Harbour Villas Phase 2
    Windsor Avenue
    Ellerslie Pen
    Spencer Lane
    Sydenham

There are 249 under-developed lots in the Succaba area.

All these lots have been assigned by the Ministry of Water and Housing but the area lacks proper roads and sanitation.

The housing units are shacks made by the individuals who occupy them. A plan is now being developed to provide housing units and infrastructure for these persons.

The squatted section of Old Harbour Villas poses a real challenge. Sanitation is at a very low level.

There is no sewer collection system, no running water, no proper on-lot sewage disposal system, no roads or organized drainage.

The entire community poses a direct threat to the ground water regime in the area and needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency. It is estimated that some where in the order of 200 lots can be developed in this section if ownership is regularized.

Old Harbour Glades

The completion of the upper sections of Old Harbour Glades will provide a number of much needed developed lots for citizens preferring that route to owning a home.

This section is the last undeveloped portion of the lands in Old Harbour, owned by the Ministry of Water and Housing, and must be developed for lower income earners as all the other developments were for middle and upper income earners.

This area can provide for 600 solutions comprising housing and serviced lots. With the implementation of the Old Harbour Glades Project and the upgrading of Succaba South, Succaba North, Burke Road/African, Marlie Acres and Old Harbour Villas Phase 2, there should be no more squatting in Old Harbour.

That, along with the projects by private developers, should solve the problem of housing in that area.

Employment

The housing programme has been, and will continue to provide jobs for local people, predominantly men. There will be a spin off that will provide a smaller number of jobs for women.

A study of the employment status in the constituency is required in order to plan for its enhancement. In order to augment the employment capabilities of the constituency, a special programme is proposed through educational training.

e. EDUCATION

The more educated the constituents are, the more productive they will become and the more they can obtain. Any education programme has to be designed to target individuals from Kindergarten to Adult. The programme is designed to include skills training in addition to basic literacy skills.

In this computer age, efforts will be made to make as many individuals as possible computer literate. We are looking at the area of skills training for the many persons who are now unskilled in the following areas:

    Carpentry
    Masonry
    Plumbing
    Welding
    Steel Work
    Dry Wall Partitioning
    Block Making
    Painting
    Auto Mechanic
    Pastry Making
    Dressmaking
    Catering
    Cashiering

We will be seeking assistance in providing the necessary training skills from the following :

     Resource persons (teachers) – These persons we hope to obtain from HEART TRUST/NTA or any other qualified skilled persons willing to volunteer their time and service.
    Computer Skills – HEART TRUST – NTA and the Portmore Community College
    Homework Centre – Reading skills, writing laboratory – Resource persons – retired teachers, sixth formers and parents willing to assist.

f. ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMME

We hope to develop an adult education programme geared for the afternoons between the hours of 5p.m. to 8p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Reading, Writing and simple Mathematics will be taught. The resource persons will be retired teachers and/or willing volunteers.

g. HEALTH CARE AND HEALTH CARE FACILITIES

Old Harbour, and to a lesser extent, Old Harbour Bay are growing rapidly and so there is a constant increase in population. This growth has led to the need for an almost proportional increase in health care facilities.

There is a hospital in each of the two adjacent towns, namely, May Pen and Spanish Town which serves the constituency and by extension, the parish. At present there is a Type 2 clinic in Old Harbour but due to the poor state of the facility and the growth in population, the health services being provided are totally inadequate. It is envisaged that the area will require a hospital to complement an upgraded clinic at some time in the future.

At the moment, the St. Catherine Health Department is in discussion with the lands department for the transfer of lands at East Street, Old Harbour, for the construction of a Type 4 health centre.

We also need to look at the expansion of the Sydenham Health Centre.

h. WATER SUPPLY

Water Supply and sewerage in any community are intrinsically linked, as the availability of one leads to the generation of the other.

There is preponderance of wells in the St. Catherine plains into which Old Harbour falls. In the Old Harbour area, these wells have been pumped over a number of years, to the extent that some have failed and have been abandoned.

Some of those that remain functional are showing increased levels of salinity which is a true indication of seawater intrusion.

In the general area, water demand is exceeding supply, and so there is a need to allow supply to at least keep pace with demand if not, surpass it. There are basically three ways to achieve this, namely:

    Develop and harness new resources in the area
    Use existing resources efficiently
    Transfer some agricultural wells to domestic use where possible or share agricultural wells with domestic demands where possible.

There are three sets of wells that should be examined as possible sources of additional domestic water. The wells are at Thetford, the Bodles Agricultural Research Station, and the Doctor Beckford Well at Claremont Heights.

The equitable distribution of domestic water to new projects is critical to achieving a level of balance in the area.

Currently, the big developers get what they need in terms of water, sometimes at the expense of existing domestic water consumers and small developers.

The efficient use of water in any community relies, to some extent, on the level of storage.
There is no storage on the Old Harbour system and that is the first step in rationalizing the supply and demand in Old Harbour and Old Harbour Bay. An elevated storage should be provided for the area.

The water rates could be adjusted to include a development cess. A loan could be negotiated with international lenders for which the cess could be used for repayment.

Innovative ways will have to be found to finance the upgrading of the water supply. Such ways could include the following:

    Construction of high level storage reservoir that could create a more efficient use of water and still provide water even when there are power outages.
    Reducing the number of hours that the pumps are in operation, thus saving on power consumption.
    Reducing the amount of water loss from leaks by gradually replacing old leaky pipes.

Mr. Speaker, the Goldmine Water Supply in now being upgraded and replacement lines are now being laid between Blue Hole and Marlie Hill. Phase 1 of the Colbeck Heights/Red Ground/Bartons water supply is now well under way.

Red Ground should have water by August while Bartons should be covered by December. The Colbeck/Planters Hall/Bois Content water supply is well advanced.

When all these supplies are completed along with the Kitson Town/Wakefield supply, the entire water supply network will be connected and will supplement each other.

The Colbeck/Planters Hall/Bois Content supply will be connected to the Goldmine supply at Gravel Hill.

The Colbeck Heights/Red Ground/ Bartons supply will connect to the Goldmine supply at Wood Hall pumping into Marlie Hill, the Goldmine supply will then be extended through Brown’s Hall where it will be connected to the Kitson Town supply at Macca Tree.

i. SEWAGE SYSTEM FOR OLD HARBOUR AND ITS ENVIRONS

In the township of Old Harbour and Old Harbour Bay, the line of demarcation is being blurred as both are rapidly expanding into each other. There is a preponderance of sewage treatment plants in the combined area. These are:

    Old Harbour Glades (Succaba)
    Old Harbour Villas
    The Avery
    New Harbour
    Blackwood Gardens

Proposed plants are:

    Colbeck Castle
    Rhone Park

There is likely to be a few more in the planning stage. The time is right to look at a project that will do the following:

    Combine all the flows from the various schemes at a single treatment plant.
    Develop an effluent re-use regime so as to avoid discharging effluent into the sea. This could include ground water recharge, irrigation on sugarcane land.
    Gradually provide central sewage for the core section of Old Harbour which will be extended into the non scheme development on the outskirts. At the moment, we are looking at converting the many Micro Dams, Shrimp and Fish ponds at Brampton Farm into a Central Sewage System for Old Harbour and its environs.

We will combine all the existing plants into the Brampton Farm system.

j. SPORTING FACILITIES, COMMUNITY CENTRES, COMMUNITY BEAUTIFICATION PROGRAMME

It is the intention of the Constituency Advisory Council, to place special emphasis on sporting facilities, community centres and beautification projects throughout the Constituency.

This programme will help to enhance the feeling of well being and so engage people, especially the young, to become more active in all forms of community activities, which will eventually result in less crime.

k. Old Harbour Sports Complex (Best Dressed Sports Complex)

The Jamaica Broilers Group has provided thirty-two (32) acres of land for the development of the former Ascot Race Track in Old Harbour for the construction of a modern “Sports Complex” commensurate with international standards which will satisfy the needs of St. Catherine and adjacent parishes. (See appendix 2).

The intention is to develop a total sports complex consisting of the following:

    Athletics Facilities
    Cricket Field
    Football Area
    Netball Courts
    Basketball Courts
    Lawn Tennis Courts
    Swimming Pool Area
    Boxing

The Facilities will include the following

    Club House
    Changing Rooms
    Spectator Stand
    Parking
    Gymnasium
    Ambulance/li>
    Clinic
    Meeting Rooms

Jamaica has always enjoyed recognition on the international stage for its excellence in sports. The exploits of Laing, Wint, McKenley, and Rhoden are legendary, and culminated in the Gold Medal in Helsinki (4 x 400 relay).

The performances of Quarrie and Ottey and in more recent times, Hemmings, Campbell, Powell, Bolt and others have continued the tradition.

Cricket has provided its own heroes with the legendary George Headley and in the recent past, Mike Holding one of the world’s greatest fast bowlers, and Courtney Walsh among the highest wicket takers in Test Cricket.

Although Football has not provided the numbers or quality as Athletics and Cricket, the name Lindy Delaphena resonates with pride and the euphoria generated by the “Road to France” has left an indelible print on the Jamaican psyche.

The question therefore arises “Quo Vadis” and it is to the answer that we must look for the future.

The people of South West St. Catherine in particular, and the wider Jamaica, are eternally grateful to Mr. Robert Levy and the Jamaica Broilers Group for their vision, generosity and devotion. The Constituency Advisory Council along with its registered foundation and Trustees will be working relentlessly to make this sporting facility, a reality.

l. OLD HARBOUR BAY – DEVELOPMENT & POTENTIAL

The Constituency Advisory Council, along with the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, is now working on a development plan for this Area, along the line of the proposal put forward by the Japanese Government in 2001. (See appendix 3a-3b)
The facility will include:

    Cold Storage
    Wholesale Facility
    Retail Facility
    Dry Dock
    Marina
    Petrol Service Station
    Incinerator
    Dredging
    Construction of Jetties to accommodate deep sea Fishing Vessels
    Restaurants
    Central Sewer System
    Housing

Embarking on a strong environmental redevelopment and protection programme for the Old Harbor Bay area will, over time, create possibilities for the development of a significant retirement and tourism industry for the region.

The demand for nature-related entertainment would become well established.

This would foster new business opportunities for the private sector in this area. The new fishing marina could also offer pleasure boat services and tours to the numerous islands in the Portland Bright area.

A related proposal to redevelop Little Goat Island and Pigeon Island as theme parks and  sruise ship facilities could attract close to a million guests both local and foreign, to the area yearly.

m. PORT ESQUIVEL DEVELOPMENT

Mr. Speaker, a multi-faceted commercial, industrial and residential development has been proposed by Mr. Bruce Donaldson of Old Harbour Estates, having as its focal point, the expansion of Port Esquivel. The concept includes the development of an expanded port, a new town centre and central support infrastructure (See appendix 4a-4b).

This would substantially modernize and transform the Port Esquivel/Old Harbour Area over a period of five (5) years. The Prime Minister has already met with Mr. Donaldson, myself and other interested parties to see how best this goal can be realized. The Planners on the Constituency Advisory Council are now working with Mr. Donaldson to drive this development.

The key components of this land mark development concept are:

1. Establishment of an Area Development Corporation.

    The Esquivel Development Corporation will be created to manage the multi-facet development

2. Expansion of Port Esquivel

    The expansion of Port Esquivel is the focal point for the entire development. It is proposed that it be expanded to incorporate 17 Panamex-sized berths (i.e. 5 bulk aggregate berths, 5 general cargo berths and 7 container berths), a jetty for liquefied natural gas(LNG) together with the upgrade of the existing WINDALCO berths to Panamax capacity.

The new design will also include:

    8,500 metres of berths not including the existing port and LNG terminal.
    350 hectares of port yardc 25,000 square metres of warehouse space (initially)

3. Industrial Park Development

An industrial Park is also an essential feature of the development, premised on the creation of an unsurpassed shipping and logistic capability together with cheap energy and cooling capacity from the LNG re-gasification process. Some 300 acres adjoining the port would be earmarked for development into an Industrial Park targeting free zone operations.

4. Town Centre Development

A municipal Centre would be developed which would be the headquarters for the Esquivel Development Corporation as well as all government offices.

n. ECONOMIC IMPACT

The impact of this multi-faceted and landmark development would be significant and far reaching.

By amalgamating some three thousand (3,000) acres of public and largely privately held land which has been has been partially committed by several landowners, this development will create Jamaica’s largest and most integrated port, industrial and commercial development.

The overall economic impact would include:

    Investment in port development of US$1.675 Billion and related investment by private sector entities.
    Creation of 20,000 jobs
    Export revenue from the expanded port facility of approximately US$500m.

8. CLOSING REMARKS

Mr. Speaker, I have great confidence in the ability of our people to move forward. There is hope. I have hope in my country and its people. As we move forward, I want Jamaica to always remember, that “It is not the falling that should matter, the importance is getting up”. Use as our personal motto “Upward and onward ever, never give up Jamaica”.

I know that better days are coming. I look forward to the day when we can put political differences and political consideration aside, when we all can join as one, with one hope and one destiny, leaving all divisiveness behind, when we can move forward as one Jamaica, one people working for one cause, and can truly say together, the best Jamaica is yet to come. A day when our decisions will not be dictated by political expediencies, but by that which is in the best interest of Jamaica.

Trouble may come our way, but this will make us strong, and we will rise!
Beaten but not broken, we shall rise!
Blooded but not bowed, we shall rise!
The night may be dark, but we shall see our way through, for we must rise!
Hope my brothers and sisters, better days are coming we shall rise!
I have hope Mr. Speaker, for together we shall succeed.
I have hope Mr. Speaker, for together as a people we shall rise to higher heights!
I have hope Mr. Speaker, for as a people we must rise to higher heights!
It can be done! It must be done! It will be done! We shall rise!
Let us put our hands and hearts together and rise above our challenges,
Be strong Jamaica, One hope, one destiny, arise as one people and never, ever shall we fail, we shall succeed. Let us rise above our problems and tribulations!

 

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