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  • Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Karl Samuda, has underscored the need for a collaborative regional approach in devising strategies to address infrastructural issues that have been plaguing water sectors in Caribbean states.
  • According to Minister Samuda, deteriorating infrastructure and climate change are impeding the ability of some regional water authorities to provide potable water to their citizens, a matter that needs to be addressed with urgency.
  • “Let us see to what extent through the sharing of technology (and) research that we can improve the lot of our entire community. I am of the view that this can only improve generally if through this collective approach we come together and experience the benefit of that kind of collaboration,” he said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Karl Samuda, has underscored the need for a collaborative regional approach in devising strategies to address infrastructural issues that have been plaguing water sectors in Caribbean states.

According to Minister Samuda, deteriorating infrastructure and climate change are impeding the ability of some regional water authorities to provide potable water to their citizens, a matter that needs to be addressed with urgency.

“Let us see to what extent through the sharing of technology (and) research that we can improve the lot of our entire community. I am of the view that this can only improve generally if through this collective approach we come together and experience the benefit of that kind of collaboration,” he said.

He was speaking at a high-level forum of Caribbean Ministers responsible for water on day two of the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association’s 27th Conference and Exhibition at the Jewel Grande Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James, on Tuesday (Oct. 9).

Minister Samuda pointed out that water infrastructure in several Caribbean countries “are creaking at the seams” and cannot be improved readily because of a lack of resources.

“Just think of the cost involved when we reflect on the decades of redundant old leaking pipes and just the identification of this infrastructure in order to repair it is a daunting task indeed. So that is what we need to deal with as matter of urgency and that is quite frankly, the first order of business in my humble opinion,” he said.

He noted that Jamaica has sought to remedy its challenges by way of private partnerships.

He cited the recent announcement by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, that the Government is exploring new business models for the National Water Commission (NWC), including moving it from being a statutory body to a company registered under the Company’s Act.

“All we are looking for in Jamaica is…to encourage local people to invest in our corporation, where we will offer a percentage of the company to the people through the stock markets or mutual bonds through the bond markets,” Minister Samuda said.

He added that Jamaica is determined to “expose the opportunities through the efficient use of our resources in our utilities area to the people of Jamaica in a shared relationship,” an approach he encouraged regional leaders to consider.

Over 400 regional delegates and international organisations are participating in the five-day conference and exhibition, which is being held under the theme: ‘Climate Resilience: Innovation and Partnership for Sustainable Water and Wastewater Development’.