WILLIAMSFIELD, St Catherine:UNHEALTHY. That’s how some residents of Cocoa Walk in Williamsfield in north-east St Catherine describe the water from a spring which runs through the community. Yet, this is the same water they are sometimes forced to use to for domestic purposes, including washing, and at times, even cooking.
“Wi know seh it no healthy, but wi can’t do any better. Sometimes wi go up a di spring and go down inna one gully and catch water and carry it pan wi head,” a female resident in her 50s, who gave her name only as Rose, told The Gleaner.
Barrington Grant, a retiree, depends mostly on the rain for his water as he said it was challenging for him to carry the commodity from the spring located near the Williamsfield pump house.
“When rain fall, I catch as much water as I can, for after the rain gone, is problem again. I am an old man now. I can’t manage to carry water on my head,” he lamented.
At the same time, Muriel Brown, secretary of the Williamsfield Citizens’ Association, told The Gleaner that the community used to get piped water.
“When they used to pump the water, we used to get it from the tap, but now, there is no water,” she said.
In fact, lack of potable water has been a long-standing issue for Cocoa Walk, but that was addressed in 2009 with the commissioning of piped water.
“It was commissioned into service after an investment of $7 million, and then two months after, the pump and the engine were stolen,” explained Member of Parliament Gregory Mair.
The water project resulted from the collaborative effort of the Social Development Commission (SDC), the Constituency Develop-ment Fund (CDF), the Williamsfield Citizens’ Association, and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica.
“In 2010, CDF money was put up front to put in another pump and an engine. This time, instead of it going through the SDC, it had to be done through the St Catherine Parish Council,” added Mair.
But according to the Mair, after two years, the St Catherine Parish Council has failed to complete the project.
“They showed us that they had installed the pump and the engine. When we looked at it, we identified that the pump that they had installed was not a new pump. It was a refurbished pump, which is contrary to the guidelines of the contract,” said Mair.
The peeved residents told The Gleaner that efforts to get an update from the parish council had proved futile.
When The Gleaner contacted Michael Morris, secretary manager at the parish council, to shed light on the matter, he was not in a position to provide details.
“We are buying a new pump,” was the only thing he was able to report.