Opposition calls for accountability in distribution of black tanks

Senator Sophia Frazer Binns and Minister Matthew Samuda
By Halshane Burke 
The parliamentary opposition is calling for accountability in the distribution of black tanks in drought affected areas.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that $20 million was to be spent to purchase and distribute black tanks to alleviate the effects of the drought.
Speaking in the Senate on Friday, Opposition Senator Sophia Frazer Binns said there must be integrity in how the black tanks are managed. 
"How many black tanks were purchased and how were they distributed, and to whom were they distributed and by whom? Because this is also important. It's one thing to say $20 million was spent, but we don't know how, how it was spent, who benefitted from it. And I think this is something that, you know, some more information is recquired in the spirit of accountability," she argued. 
In response, Minister with responsibility for Water Matthew Samuda said the $20 million was used to purchase 454 (200 gallon) and 260 (400 gallon) water tanks in total, or about 11 tanks per constituency.  
"This is a very small stop gap that was put in place in the areas where we had reports of the least efficiency in delivering water. So MPs were asked to identify these areas and they've been working with [National Water Commission] for the distribution of these tanks," he noted. 
He said the expanded programme, with a target to distribute 50,000 tanks, will follow the same process used for the social housing programme. 
"There will be a social enquiry, there will be a committee by parish that will ensure that the recommendations from MPs are validated. It will be people on PATH, it will be persons that fall in a geographic space that does not have NWC footprint or the NWC footprint is so poor that they may be getting water once a week. We will be geo-tagging all of these tanks. All of the appropriate oversight agencies will be able to log in, be able to go and geographically find where each tank went and see that it met the criteria," he told the Senate. 

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