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Residents affected by Rio Cobre pollution say gov't taking too long to help

Kestonard Gordon, Vice-Chairman of the St. Catherine Parish Development Committee, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness
 
Residents of communities surrounding the Rio Cobre in St. Catherine are growing impatient with the wait for Government assistance since the chemical spill from bauxite company Windalco caused a massive fish kill and halted the livelihood of fisherfolk.
 
The contamination of the river has also led to the shutdown of the National Water Commission's Spanish Town Treatment Plant, leaving several communities without water.
 
The NWC has re-routed one of its supply systems and committed to trucking water but has cautioned that this will be limited.
 
Additionally, the Government has said there will be a multi-agency approach to respond to the needs of the affected persons, but it will take time to organise.
 
Kestonard Gordon, Vice-Chairman of the St. Catherine Parish Development Committee, says the assistance is taking too long.
 
Mr. Gordon appealed for drinking water to be sent to the communities. 
 
He questioned the why the government's promised multi-agency assistance has not yet begun, suggesting there was a lack of empathy for the affected people. 
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is to make a statement today on the latest contamination of the Rio Cobre.
 
Mr. Holness disclosed that he has been briefed by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and is to get further information today before commenting on the matter. 
 
"The government has to, especially in our period of independence, assure the nation that our environmental assets must be protected and the process has begun. So today I'll be making a statement later on that," he said while speaking Friday on TVJ's Smile Jamaica programme.
 
NEPA is to host a virtual media briefing at 2 o'clock on the pollution of the Rio Cobre.
 


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