Excited and grateful residents of Dennery North gathered on the grounds of the Grande Riviere Human Resource Centre to witness the official ground-breaking ceremony of the Dennery Water Supply Redevelopment Project on Friday, February 17. Featured speakers at the ceremony included Mexican Ambassador, H.E. Luis Manuel Lopez Moreno, UNOPS Portfolio Manager for English-speaking Caribbean region, Mr. Djibrilla Mazin, Mr. Terryl Monsanto of WASCO, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Parliamentary Representative for Dennery North Shawn Edward and Minister for Agriculture Ezechiel Joseph.
Dennery North resident Angelina Polius, on behalf of fellow residents, welcomed attendees with a heartwarming presentation of thanks to the country of Mexico and Ambassador Moreno for the grant of U.S. $5million. This was used to facilitate the first phase of the water supply project. Ambassador Moreno, in return, shared Mexico’s willingness to continue assisting Dennery and the rest of Saint Lucia. Mexico has completed a number of agricultural and health projects on the island as well as in St. Vincent, Antigua, Dominica and St. Kitts. Redevelopment plans for the Dennery North water supply project include provisions for cleaner, more potable water, better distribution and storage.
At Friday’s event the plight of residents of Dennery North due to the poor water supply over the past five decades was highlighted. Shawn Edward reminisced on the infants who had died and the parents who had suffered because of the spread of bilharzia in the 1970s and 1980s. Other water-borne diseases and water-related problems such as agro-chemicals from farming had also been affecting the water supply. He noted that there were people who had never seen running water in their taps during their lifetimes and commented, “Not only is it a case where we do not have enough water in Dennery North but the quality of what we do get is woefully inadequate.”
His address was, however, primarily one of appreciation at the launch of the project. “This is not a victory for me as parliamentary representative, or for the Prime Minister, but the victory is for all the constituents of Dennery North, irrespective of religious persuasion or political affiliation.” He ended by delivering more thanks: “Ambassador Moreno, I have to thank you personally and on behalf of my constituents for your demonstrated commitment to this project and the support you’ve provided the office of the parliamentary representative where this particular project is concerned. I want to thank you immensely for that.”
Honourable Allen Chastanet commented that the present government only made a small contribution towards this project. “It’s this project and the fact that it worked collaboratively between two governments, two political parties, is what we’re trying to do.” The Prime Minister ended by sharing words of encouragement: “Saint Lucians must spend less time focusing on the negatives and more time focusing on the positives. Let us celebrate what is great in our country.”
To finalize the assembly a pipe-lying ceremony took place in which all the presenters participated.