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Water thieves!

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Water thieves!

NWC says people in more than 60 communities in Corporate Area stealing its product

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 04, 2019

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MORE than 60 Corporate Area communities have been fingered in the theft of water, even as the National Water Commission (NWC) struggles to provide steady flow to 35,000 paying customers.

The disclosure was made by Corporate Public Relations Manager Charles Buchanan, who also revealed that there has been frequent theft of meters installed by the entity at both private and public places.

“Theft is a big issue in a number of areas including frequent theft of meters which we’re trying to fight. What these guys do is that they rip the meters from the axis pipe and leave the pipe gushing in customers’ yard. It is sometimes being done at nights; the customer only in the morning becomes aware of it and then calls us. It means then that for several hours that pipe may have been running at full [and a lot of water is] wasted,” he told the Jamaica Observer in an interview this week.

Buchanan said the entity is trying to ascertain the causes behind these thefts, with the assistance of the police, and are hoping for a breakthrough.

“That’s one part of the theft; then we have the regular illegal connections to the network. It remains a challenge for us although we are trying to tackle it through an aggressive regularisation programme. So, we have identified the areas in which the greatest level of theft and unauthorised usage is taking place,” he stated.

Buchanan did not identify the communities but said they are well known.

He said, too, that these communities are not only robbing the company but are also delinquents by nature.

“We call them socially challenged areas. We’ve done a pretty detailed work on the profile of the communities and it’s showing where theft occurs and the greatest level of frequency, in terms of theft from the NWC network, is often in communities that are faced with a number of other social challenges,” the NWC manager told the Observer.

In the meantime, the NWC is warning persons that, where illegal and bypass connections are discovered on premises, they will be liable to incur back charges and/or face prosecution and arrest.

It is also within the remit of NWC to seize property owned by individuals who have failed to honour the bills owed to the company.

“The company is, therefore, urging persons to avoid the inconvenience and embarrassment of prosecution by paying water bills on time and in full. It is socially unacceptable and unlawful for persons to be trespassing on the works of the NWC and the call is being made for persons to desist from practising these unscrupulous deeds,” said Buchanan.

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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The Ocho Rios Orchid Society is still basking in the success of its 27th Annual Orchid Show which it described as a delightful family event.

The show, held earlier this year, featured “breathtaking orchid displays complemented by dance items, fashion show and several booths showcasing a wide array of craft, clothing, jewellery and myriad plants”, the society said in a news release.

Known for making donations to various organisations from the proceeds of the show over the years, the society allocated funds from this year’s event to:

* Our Lady of Fatima Church Feeding Programme;

* Exchange All-Age School;

* Ocho Rios Baptist Church Feeding Programme;

* Mustard Seed Communities; and

* St Ann’s Bay Hospital.

President of the Orchid Society Andrea Davidson stated that she and her members were pleased to be able to make the contributions and “will continue to do so in the future”.

“Through these donations the members hope that they would have made a positive contribution not only to these organisations but to the people that each one serves,” the society said, and expressed thanks to the patrons who continue to support the show annually and whose patronage has helped to make the donations possible.

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NEPA briefs municipal corporations on proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area

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NEPA briefs municipal corporations on proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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Fourteen representatives from municipal corporations in Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth participated in a briefing on the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA) on Wednesday at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) head office.

The meeting was convened to brief mayors, chief executive officers and other senior municipal representatives on the process adopted by the Government in declaring the proposed CCPA boundaries, explain the accompanying initiatives and actions for areas outside of the boundary, provide information and clarification on mandatory environmental impact assessment (and archaeological impact assessment) and the plans to develop and implement a management plan for the area.

Peter Knight, NEPA chief executive officer and government town planner who chaired the meeting, stated that “the Government, led by Prime Minister Holness, is to be credited with providing leadership and working diligently in partnership with the key environmental and planning agencies and departments and other stakeholders in collectively agreeing on a boundary referred to as the CCPA”.

The briefing included a presentation on the CCPA, highlighting its significance and raising awareness of the proposed CCPA as a no-mining zone as designated by the Cabinet.

Following the presentation, representatives from the municipal corporations sought clarification on issues regarding the CCPA, including the considerations in the definition of the proposed boundary and progress of the on-the-ground verification (“ground truthing”) process to outline the boundary.

“We are glad for this meeting so that we can relay these facts to our councillors. There is a lot of misinformation and the people have the right to be informed properly,” said Trelawny mayor, Councillor Colin Gager. “We do applaud the bold move by the prime minister to identify a boundary.”

Other mayors expressed similar sentiments, saying that the briefing was overdue and that they were now placed in a better position to assist with the dialogue on the CCPA.

Representatives from partner State entities, including the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Water Resources Authority, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority were present at the briefing to respond to queries.

After extensive consultations and deliberations, the area designated as the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area was announced in Parliament on November 21, 2017 by Prime Minister Holness.

The proposed CCPA spans six parishes — Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth. The area comprises approximately 74,726 hectares and will be protected under law. This includes existing forest reserves, significant hydrological, ecological feature, and cultural and heritage sites. A management plan will be prepared in partnership with private landowners, local groups and other stakeholders.

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NEPA empowers Trelawny youth with summer programme

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NEPA empowers Trelawny youth with summer programme

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is reporting that this year’s Summer Library Programme, put on by the Sharon O’Connor Documentation Centre, has empowered youngsters aged 4-15 years to make environmentally conscious decisions.

Held under the theme ‘Protecting our Environment’, the programme engaged participants at the Trelawny Parish Library in Falmouth and the branch libraries at Duncans, Clark’s Town, and Wakefield.

According to NEPA Senior Librarian Kay-Ann Miller, “the topics for this year’s programme were selected based on the environmental issues facing communities in Trelawny, as gleaned from discussions with Suzette Morgan, senior librarian in the Trelawny Parish Library Network.

“It was important to cover topics relevant to their environment, including beaches and coastal erosion, practising the 4-Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse — the ban on single-use plastics, composting, and the effects of deforestation,” Miller added.

In addition to displays on environmental and planning issues presented by NEPA officials, the programme’s participants were exposed to information focusing on pollution, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and biodiversity.

Another key component of the Summer Library Programme was a Poster and Collage competition for children aged 9-15 and 4-8 years. Winners were awarded book vouchers. In addition, the five libraries in the parish network were also presented with books on Jamaica’s flora and fauna, as well as art and craft supplies for the programme’s participants.

The National Baking Company sponsored snacks for participants for the duration of the programme.

Morgan expressed gratitude to the NEPA team for facilitating the programme, saying, “We appreciate NEPA’s efficiency, organisation and communication throughout the programme and we are grateful to the agency for investing in Trelawny’s youth. The sponsorship of the stationery and art supplies was a huge help as students are now able to have adequate supplies.”

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