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Trade unionist wants consumers protected against unfair billing for water from private provider

Helene Davis-Whyte, President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, is urging that there be strict controls in the US$77 million public-private sector water project in St Catherine, to shield the public from exorbitant and unaffordable water bills.

Mrs Davis-Whyte wants the management contracts to have provisions which prevent the private operators from recouping any loss from the public.

National Water Commission President Mark Barnett has explained that the construction and operation of the facility will be done by a consortium of private entities with supervision from the Office of Utilities Regulation.

Concern has been raised however that the arrangement might similar to that for the toll road system which guarantees profits to the operators.

Mrs Davis Whyte contends that safeguards in the contracts should be mandatory.

She also wants measures in place to ensure consistency in the quality and delivery of water.

The trade unionist also worries that the public might be at risk in these types of arrangements, based on some examples seen overseas.