Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member Newton Amos is taking credit for work done to address the overflow of raw sewage into the community of Rosemount, located in the Linstead area of St Catherine North West.
The situation sparked a protest by residents last Friday as well as Monday of this week.
Amos, the JLP candidate in the constituency, claimed that, notwithstanding the protest, the people’s plight was virtually ignored by their elected representatives – all from the opposition People’s National Party (PNP).
One of those PNP representatives, Herbert Garriques, who is the Councillor for the Linstead Division, is being accused of telling residents that the situation is outside his purview, and is instead a matter for the health department to address.
Amos told The Beacon that he visited the scene of the protest on Monday, May 13, and contacted the various state agencies to have the matter speedy resolved.
“I spoke to the parish council; the parish council said it is a private matter – not a parish council issue. I spoke to the health department and they told me it’s a parish council matter,” Amos explained.
He said he realized that the situation would have required ‘extraordinary resources’, and so he contacted Senator Pearnel Charles – the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
Senator Charles reportedly promised to bring the matter to the attention of Mark Barrett, President of the National Water Commission (NWC).
Amos further explained that Barrett telephoned him, saying that the issue was not a NWC matter, but that the state-owned agency would respond due to the potential health threat to the community.
“Mr Barrett readily consented and guaranteed that he would send the necessary expertise and resources to come and see what could be done,” Amos added.
“I remained in the area with the people throughout until the [NWC] truck arrived. They cleared the blocked main and thereafter we were able to ask the Linstead firefighters to come into the area and to wash the road surface to remove whatever was there. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to treat with the issue… The things that I did are things that the elected representatives could have done.”
Amos, in the meantime, said the sewage problem was having a deleterious effect on Rosemount residents.
“There were issues and complaints and allegations of children coming up with a lot of unusual bumps and rash on their skin, and they had to be taken to Linstead Public Hospital. People who operate cookshop in the vicinity – which they rely on for a living – had to close,” he further told The Beacon.
Amos reasoned that the sewage issue in Rosemount is just one example of how the elected representatives – all from the PNP – have been ignoring the plight of the people throughout St Catherine North West.
He stated that Member of Parliament Robert Pickersgill who is now in the retirement lounge did not visit the residents; neither did Hugh Graham who is succeeding Pickersgill.
“I understand that Mr Hugh Graham is aspiring to replace Mr Pickersgill. But what kind of leadership is he showing when he is not able to go and visit? He didn’t even visit the people,” Amos said.
Graham, when contacted, told The Beacon that he was not made aware of either the sewage problem or the protest by the residents.
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