JIS News

A series of symposia will be held across the island to address issues on consumer rights, and in particular, those concerns relating to potable water.
The series is part of a week of activities planned to observe World Consumer Rights Day on March 15 by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC). Events will take place from March 14 to 20 and the theme for this year’s observance is: ‘Water is a Consumer Right’.
Research and Communication Officer at the Commission, Racquel Chambers told JIS News that the theme was selected because of the global concern relating to water as a commodity and a right.
She explained that a United Nations report in June 2003 revealed that one in six persons lived without regular access to safe drinking water, while 2.5 billion people lacked access to adequate sanitation.
She added that the report predicted that by 2050, one in four persons would live in a country that was affected by chronic recurrent shortage of fresh water.
On the other hand, Mrs. Chambers pointed out that Jamaica’s water supply and quality were relatively good and met World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines and standards. “It has been stated that Jamaica is one of the few countries in the Caribbean where you can drink water straight from the tap,” she added.
She also noted that some cruise ships which pass through the region would take water only from Jamaica.
Mrs. Chambers said the issue where Jamaica’s water was concerned related to access. “Many persons in rural Jamaica do not have access to potable water. We have to look at what needs to be put in place to ensure that water and adequate sanitation can reach these persons at a reasonable cost,” she explained.
She pointed out that most complaints coming into the organisation about water matters related to persons receiving frequent estimated and high bills from the National Water Commission (NWC).
The symposia, she explained would help to inform the various stakeholders on the steps that need to be taken to allow persons to have access to water at a reasonable price.
On Monday, March 15, two symposia will be held at the PCJ Auditorium in Kingston at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Discussions will also take place on Tuesday, March 16 at the PCJ Auditorium and the Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College in St. James at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively.
Meetings will also be held at the Stony Hill and Portmore HEART Academies on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. and on Thursday at the same time at the College of Agricultural Science and Education (CASE) in Portland.The CAC week of activities begins with a church service on Sunday, March 14 at Bethel Baptist Church in Kingston.
The Commission will also host an exposition titled, ‘The Jamaican Market for the Jamaican Consumer’ at Emancipation Park from March 19 to 20, which is aimed at encouraging persons to buy Jamaican produce. Other exhibitions will be held at the St. Thomas Parish Library and the Stony Hill HEART Academy during the week.

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