Mon | Feb 24, 2020

NWC chairman: Stop cussing us on talk shows

Published:Friday | February 7, 2020 | 12:28 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Senator Pearnel Charles Jr (left), minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, greets Senator Aubyn Hill, chairman of the National Water Commission, during a press briefing on drought mitigation at Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday.
Senator Pearnel Charles Jr (left), minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, greets Senator Aubyn Hill, chairman of the National Water Commission, during a press briefing on drought mitigation at Jamaica House in St Andrew yesterday.

As the country braces for a continued period of below-normal rainfall, Senator Aubyn Hill, the chairman of the National Water Commission (NWC), has appealed to customers to avoid expressing dissatisfaction with water shortages on talk show programmes.

Instead, Hill recommended that they contact the NWC or find a way to contact him directly with complaints, as he is usually robust in his responses.

He was addressing attendees during a press conference on drought mitigation yesterday at Jamaica House in St Andrew.

“Right now we are saying, ‘help us conserve and reuse and help us to recycle when you can’. Don’t go on [talk shows] and cuss us,” Hill said.

“Call us first. If you have to cuss us, then cuss us. When I get those calls, I respond. I make no joke or apologies about that.”

WORK BEINg FAST-TRACKED

While outlining some of the plans afoot, he said he was well aware of what customers’ needs are and that work is being fast-tracked to ensure the public can contact the NWC on issues.

“It is big business and it is right across the country, so we won’t get it right all the time. When we don’t get it right, everybody is in social media, so contact us.”

Hill cited, as a major part of the solution to the nation’s water woes, a more than $5-billion project to replace old water pipes in the system. He said that the commission’s intermediate plans have begun to work.

“We have been doing things to make sure we have a water distribution system that works. We are looking at creating a 15-million gallon system coming from the Rio Cobre in St Catherine. A combination of foreign and local companies have been coming together to put that in place. We hope for work on the Rio Cobre project to start soon because negotiations have been going on for some time.

“We have water pipes that are 65 years old, 100 years old, and the moment you pressure them, they spew all over the place. We are also putting in new metres,” he explained.

As testament to how the new meters work, Hill said that, at his home, whenever someone uses a pipe to fill the pool and leaves it on, the NWC charges him “every penny” for it.

In relation to the drought the country is about to experience, Pearnel Charles Jr, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said he was “not the Almighty” and could not make rain fall, but the Government is playing its part to do everything it can to sensitise the population to improve its water usage practices.