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News Briefs

Published:Friday | October 30, 2020 | 12:11 AM
Donald Tapia
Donald Tapia

$2b in losses for NWC

The National Water Commission has leaked upwards of $2 billion in losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Barnett, its president, has said.

Speaking at the NWC’s first quarterly press briefing on Tuesday, Barnett said that water shortages had forced the NWC to use a chunk of its budget to truck supplies to Jamaicans amid heightened concern over proper hygiene to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

“My trucking bill went through the roof. Our revenue is going south and therefore it is unquestionable that we have been impacted negatively by COVID,” Barnett said, adding that the commission was mulling cost-saving strategies.

Gag on Tapia, sorry for Twitter rant

In a show of outsize diplomatic strength, Jamaica’s Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith delivered a public reprimand to America’s top diplomat in Kingston in the wake of a rant on his official Twitter account.

The rap on the knuckles prompted a swift apology from Donald Tapia, a businessman-turned-ambassador who has often abandoned the posture of heft and caution that mark diplomatic conduct.

“I spoke with the ambassador [and] he is aware that the engagement was not appropriate for a diplomatic representative. He assured me that it will not recur,” Johnson Smith tweeted.

However, Tapia said the tweets weren’t made by him.

“I take full responsibility for what took place. I believe the individual will be leaving shortly, because it was inappropriate ... I don’t know what was actually tweeted out, I have not looked at it,” he said on Nationwide News Network.

He added: “To the people that were involved on Twitter, I have to apologise to them, very deeply ... .”

Tapia’s Twitter-happy fingers reflect similar conduct to his appointer, United States President Donald Trump, whose knee-jerk responses and late-night dispatches have drawn ire.