Water, jobs big-ticket items in North Central Clarendon
With the lack of potable water among the chief concerns for residents of North Central Clarendon, the two men gearing up to face the electorate in the impending general election are already looking into solutions to address the long-standing problem.
Dr Desmond Brennan, the People’s National Party caretaker for the constituency, told The Gleaner that he can solve the problem if elected. He said that with so many water sources in the area, residents should not be struggling to have access to the precious commodity.
“We have Thomas River running down there, we have the longest river in Jamaica – Rio Minho – running through there, and yet there is no water. How can that be possible?” the medical doctor asked as he spoke with The Gleaner recently on his way back from a funeral.
With the soil in that section of Clarendon being sandy-loam, Brennan said, there would be a high water table. He suggested that if a well is dug deep enough, “then all the water will flow into the well”.
He highlighted Blackwoods, which, he says, has seven springs with crystal-clear water, yet residents are not enjoying that supply through pipes. The solution, he posited, was for it to be tombed and channelled into households.
However, while Brennan is awaiting the election to implement his ideas should he get a nod, the Jamaica Labour Party’s Robert Nesta Morgan is already in action. He shared with The Gleaner that he has started the process of digging wells in Rock River to alleviate the water crisis.
“We are also doing some work down in Suttons. I have personally had meetings with the head of National Water Commission and the new minister of water about the water situation there already, and plans are in place to start doing some serious work in terms of catchments tanks, digging more wells, and improving the distribution network,” Morgan said, adding that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has committed to significant investments in the constituency.
With unemployment a major issue in North Central Clarendon, Brennan said the Government can do more to provide jobs for residents.
He zoned in on the Suttons area, which he claims has 25 acres of land that can be used as an agricultural nursery.
“They always have ortanique, ‘Parson Brown’ – all types of oranges – that they used to bud down there and sell. It’s there resting on the bank of the Rio Minho. Why couldn’t that be developed into an agro park?” he asked.
He also has big plans for the ganja industry with small farmers in mind, saying there must be a way for them to get their products legitimised and legalised so that they can either sell to the bigger players or have a small farm that they can benefit from.
“All along, the poor little Rastaman has been prosecuted. He spent time in jail, he was deprived of the opportunity to travel abroad because he has a small conviction for ganja, and now that the pie has opened up, he is left outside. He is not even invited to the party,” he said.
Brennan lost the seat by 529 votes to Pearnel Charles Sr in the 2016 election. He polled 6,256 votes to Charles’ 5,727.