The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has committed to improving the lives of residents of South Manchester communities, through provision of the social service of water and indigent housing for an elderly couple.
While on tour of several communities in the South Manchester area last Friday (July 23), the portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, took note of the condition of the roads, and in particular the supply of water.
“South Manchester has a severe challenge when it comes on to water. We looked at several areas that are affected severely by a lack of running water. We are expected to put in a water shop, as soon as the arrangements have been completed, in a community called St. Toolies. The residents were very happy that we are going to be making it possible for them to have water in the community,” announced Minister McKenzie.
Councillor for the Porus Division, Claudia Morant Blake, shared that although the division has 15 wells, most districts are without potable water.
“We have natural springs, we have the NIC (National Irrigation Commission) wells, and with that we are looking at ways to see how the residents can benefit from having the commodity in their homes. Going through the communities you will notice that there are a lot of black tanks, because it is the main source of water for them. This visit by the Minister will make a big difference in the lives of the residents,” she said.
Mayor of Mandeville, Donovan Mitchell, added his assurance to the residents of St. Toolies and asked for continued patience.
“The Minister has given some instructions as to getting the area cleaned and cleared, so that the technical team can come in and do their estimates, etc. So, for the persons in the St. Toolies area, what I want to say is that their water will be coming soon and they just have to wait a little bit longer and things will work out,” Mayor Mitchell said.
Minister McKenzie also made the commitment to assist the most vulnerable in the community through the provision of indigent housing. The Minister was moved by the conditions under which one elderly couple was living.
“We are going to be paying attention to the indigent and we are going to be building a new housing solution for a couple from Hampton Road. The Board of Supervision, through the Poor Relief Office, has commenced the investigations and we are hoping to commence the construction of a two-bedroom that will include bathroom and toilet facilities, so that at least this very elderly couple can live in some level of comfort,” Minister McKenzie announced.
This is part of the Ministry’s undertaking to provide block-and-steel indigent housing for select members of the vulnerable population across the island, as part of its social protection programme. The Minister announced in his 2021/2022 sectoral presentation that this fiscal year, indigent houses will be built in West Central St. Andrew, South-West St. Andrew, Eastern Westmoreland, Western Westmoreland, North-West St. James, Southern St. James, Central St. Mary, and South-East St. Mary.