Clean Water – Good To The Last Drop!
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
March 24, 2010 (SKNIS)
The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has joined with UNESCO and other nations around the word in acknowledging the importance of clean water.
The St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission, through its organ, Small Islands Voice, coordinated a World Water Day Seminar at the Ocean Terrace Inn today, March 22. Under the theme: “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” the various stakeholders, including teachers, students, environmentalists and persons employed in the water sector, all agreed that water was crucial for health and development.
St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO National Commission Secretary General Antonio Maynard read the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova’s message, which stated the depressing statistics that two and an half billion people continue to live without proper sanitation and that 884 million have no access to safe drinking water.
“Water-related sickness and the additional financial hardship it brings, lowers the odds that a poor family will educate its children.” The UNESCO Director General’s Message continued. “This, in turn, robs the next generation of the opportunity to improve their own circumstances and break the cycle of poverty and deprivation trapping them. Clean water and proper sanitation are where it all starts.”
Mr. Oaklyn Peets, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, emphasized that water is linked to our social, economic and political development.
“The Ministry of Health has recently acknowledged that here in St. Kitts we have seen a marked decline in the levels of gastroenteritis and related diseases,” Permanent Secretary Peets said. “[This has been] directly attributed to advancements in the delivery of safe potable water to the general public.”
Mr. Peets informed that in order to have the present success rate in safe water and efficient supply, a significant investment had to be made to the local Water Services infrastructure. He said that during the late 1990s an EC$18 million loan from the Kuwati Fund for Economic Development was used to construct eight reservoirs, drill wells, lay several miles of new pipeline and replace old pipeline. It was also used to build the office complex that now houses the Ministry of Utilities and the Water Services Department.
Similarly, Permanent Secretary Peets informed that between 2003 and 2006 EC$20 million was secured to finance the Water Supply Improvement Project. By the end of the project an additional one million gallons of groundwater was being obtained per day. This was particularly needed in the areas of Cayon, Ogee Ghaut, Mattinley Heights and Conaree.
After addressing the significance of water, Honourable Senator Nigel Carty, Minister of Education with responsibility for UNESCO, did not let the opportunity pass without acknowledging UNESCO. He acknowledged the entity for being actively and visibly engaged in a number of programmes and projects in the Federation in recent times.
“These activities have served to enhanced our cultural, educational and social profile and have created opportunities for the country and its people to benefit in concrete ways,” Minister Carty said. “The list of successful UNESCO interventions is long and lustrous.”
He mentioned Youth Path, Small Islands Voice, Training for Educators and Child Caregivers in Early Childhood and the Memory of the World Programme to which the St. Kitts register of slaves was recently recorded, as well as the Slave Route Project. Minister Carty further noted the Ministry of Education’s Peer Mediation and Monitoring Exercise, December 2010’s celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Brimstone Hill as a World Heritage Site, the Anti-Doping and Education in Sports Programme, the Community Media Centre Programme, the Teacher Training Laboratory, the Convention on Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage and the Survey on the Socio-Economic and Education background of the inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison.
The outcome of the half day seminar is a compilation of recommendations that will be presented to local policymakers.