Friday, September 07, 2018
No water, no water, no water. Only empty promises.
The very name Jamaica means land of wood and water. And yet the National Water Commission (NWC) is incapable of providing Jamaican citizens with the one and only service they are responsible for.
“Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and you will be connected to the next available agent.”
Well, that's a lie.
I hold patiently and impatiently for 15 minutes and more on the NWC customer help line only to be disconnected with an abrupt “goodbye”.
And then, like a fool, I call again, only to be disconnected again.
There are cities in the desert with larger populations than Jamaica — Phoenix and Doha, for example — which have water every time someone turns on the tap.
But here in Jamaica the NWC tells us that 'Water is life', and then proceeds to provide it intermittently at best.
How much investment has Jamaica been denied since its independence because of its inability to provide water on a consistent basis?
How much growth has our economy been denied because of the incompetence of the NWC?
Today Jamaica is celebrating 1.8 per cent growth while our largest trading partner, the United States, has 4.2 per cent growth.
I have had little or no water at my apartment complex in New Kingston for most of the last week. But that is nothing compared to a couple years ago when, in its incompetence and wisdom, the NWC provided me with nothing but air for seven long, hot, dry months. Seven months.
On one call to the NWC, when I miraculously got through, the agent informed me that there was a place in St Thomas that hadn't had any water for a year. That was their response. That, plus to send me a monthly bill charging me heftily for the air that was going through my pipes — even though they knew that they had not provided a drop of water.
When we talk about corruption in this country, the NWC should be first in line for immediate attention.
The British, wicked colonialists that they were, built us the Mona reservoir more than 60 years ago. Since then we have not built any new reservoir or dam for Kingston, and the city has only grown while the capacity of the reservoir has shrunk, thanks to silt.
We are victims of our own incompetence. There is more than enough water in this island to supply its population and more. And yet we must live like animals, praying for blessings from above and from the NWC.
How does Jamaica have any hope of becoming a developed country by 2030 — the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business — with this sad excuse of a water company?
A dehydrated NWC customer
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