Parliamentarians delay NWA’s $9.5-million drain-cleaning programme


Saturday, June 01, 2019

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WITH the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season starting today, the National Works Agency (NWA) is yet to fully roll-out a multimillion-dollar drain -cleaning programme across the island because some Members of Parliament (MPs) are yet to submit the areas in their constituencies they want worked on.

Stephen Shaw, communication manager at the National Works Agency, yesterday told an Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management media briefing that the NWA has delayed the work in some constituencies because it wants the input of residents, through their MPs, on the main problem areas.

“The input of all 63 Members of Parliament is important in formulating aspects of the programme, as constituents will know better than anyone the cause of flooding in their communities. After all, sometimes they contribute tremendously to these situations,” said Shaw.

He added that the NWA is still awaiting the feedback from several MPs, but Shaw did not name those who are being tardy.

“A total of $9.5 million has been allocated among MPs to undertake work in relation to the unclogging of drains and the desilting of channels where their constituents live, work, and do business,” declared Shaw.

“Just recently, approval was granted for the commencement of work under the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) 2019 pre-hurricane mitigation programme. This involves primarily drain-cleaning and de-bushing activities.

“The programme is the first of three routine drain cleaning activities which the NWA will undertake during this hurricane season. The agency will carry out maintenance of the drain network during the course of the next six months, in three tranches,” Shaw added.

The NWA official pointed out that with the rains already started it is important that the drain-cleaning begins as soon as possible.

“We have commenced in some locations and we intend to ramp up this programme over the next couple of weeks,” said Shaw.

Flooding, caused by blocked drains, has been a regular problem in several communities across the island in the past, and the delay by MPs could lead to avoidable hardships for some residents when more rain comes.

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