JIS News

State Minister for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Delano Franklyn, has declared that water was a critical resource and access to potable water for all people should be the priority of every government.
“We in Jamaica have generally become accustomed to the view that water should be accessible by people anywhere geographically, from whatever social background and whatever their age or sex. Everyone should be able to access water”, he said.
The State Minister was addressing participants in yesterday’s (Oct.12) plenary session of the 5th Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management, at the Half Moon Conference Centre in Montego Bay.
This session was held under the theme: ‘Trade agreements and the water sector: implications and reform’, and was aimed at exploring the implications of trade agreements on the structure and functions of water resource management institutions in the public and private sectors.
Senator Franklyn observed that there were persons and institutions internationally, that were of the view, that water ought to be treated like any other commodity in a supermarket, which meant that in order to be able to access it, people should pay the market value.
“This raises serious social, economic and more so political questions for small developing countries. The real question is, should water be socially available without cost to the beneficiary? If there is to be a cost, what is the most affordable cost? What is the role of the State in the access to water?” the State Minister asked.
He noted that attention should be given to how water was being treated within the context of globalization and the negotiations now taking place within the World Trade Organization, and the whole notion of moving away from the social provision of water to the provision of water through privatization.
“We must be able, in our negotiations, to include all the stakeholders, so that when we arrive at a decision, none is excluded. I therefore hope that at the end of our discussions, we can come to a common understanding as to how basically we should treat an issue that is of utmost importance”, Minister Franklyn pointed out.
The six-day Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management, which ends today (Oct.13), has attracted more than 250 stakeholders from across the countries of the Americas. It is hoped that at the end of the meeting, consensus would be reached on critical issues and guidelines for the proper management and sustainability of the vital water resources of the world.