Minister responsible for Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (FP)??

It will cost??a minimum of $10 million per year to correct this?? island’s??drainage problems,??and?? Government is prepared to seek international funding to do so, if??need be.

Word of this has come from Minister responsible for Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, who was speaking in the wake of flooding in some parts of the island, following recent torrential showers.

"We have constraints relative to budget, but my intention is that if we have to seek international funding to take care of this [we will]. We have got the next three years to make this right and we’re going to keep at it until we get it where we want to get it," he underlined.

The Minister pointed out that while there were some one-time costs including equipment, drainage needs were wide-raging.

"I think drainage is much more than clearing drains – I think technology has to be employed…we?? have some structures that need to be changed, and some of our drainage structures are very faulty which we have to address, so it is going to cost us. I think the public appreciates that we are going to have to spend to get it done, because if we don’t we will put their safety and comfort at peril and that is not what Government does," the Minister advanced.

Suggesting that they had "done pretty well"?? in critical areas including?? the City and the Constitution River?? in Bridgetown, Holetown and Sunset Crest, St. James and Brathwaite’s (Headley’s) Land, St. Michael,?? Minister Lowe observed that they were still some settlements which they were concerned about which were outside of the Drainage Division’s remit.

Citing the area in Rockley, Christ Church, in the vicinity of Chefette Restaurants Ltd. as a major one, Dr. Lowe said he had spoken to the Minister responsible for Transport and Works (MTW), and they had agreed to collaborate to address these issues.

"I am very concerned, because it puts pedestrians and persons waiting for public transport at risk because of the volume of water that is settled. I think we have identified a solution… it is going to cost us, but I think it is a cost that is necessary," he explained.

Minister Lowe said his Ministry had also been offered assistance by a construction company to look at strategically locating dams for water catchments.

"We are trying to enhance the capacity of the country, relative to water resources. ??So that is part of the strategy?? going forward and part of our national water resources management plan, which would look at how we are going to capture some of that water, treat it and put it back into the water resource," he stated.

Dr. Lowe, however, made it clear that the maintaining of a functioning drainage system was not a "one-off" exercise, but one which needed to be revisited to ensure that water courses remained clear.

"What we have to do, though, is to ensure that the public cooperates with Government and that there would be a reduction in the disposal of waste – food cartons, bottles and so on – that get into the water-ways and block the drains," he emphasised.??

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