The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Saint Lu­cia's Levern Spencer won the is­land's first gold medal at the Pan Amer­i­can Games on Wed­nes­day. The 31-year-old from Babon­neau cleared 1.94 me­tres to cap­ture gold in the women's high jump event at the XVII edi­tion of the Games in Toronto, On­tario, Canada.

Prime Min­is­ter, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. An­thony, ex­tended his con­grat­u­la­tions to Levern on her his­toric feat. Levern, along with NCAA cham­pion Jean­nelle Scheper, will rep­re­sent Saint Lu­cia at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Au­gust. Both are in the world's top 10 for 2015.

Said the Prime Min­is­ter, “Levern and Jean­nelle are ex­em­plars for us as Saint Lu­cians, and we should ap­plaud them for their achieve­ments. The heights to which they have

The Caribbean De­vel­op­ment Bank is sup­port­ing Saint Lu­cia's ef­forts to de­liver a re­li­able, cli­mate-re­silient sup­ply of potable wa­ter to the north­ern dis­tricts of the is­land by pro­vid­ing USD 14.8 mil­lion to fund im­prove­ments to the John Comp­ton Dam and oper­a­tions of the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­pany of St. Lu­cia (WASCO).

The sup­ply of potable wa­ter from the dam has been un­re­li­able with more than 93,000 res­i­dents and the many busi­nesses that op­er­ate in the north­ern dis­tricts hav­ing to en­dure se­vere wa­ter short­ages ev­ery two to three years. With short­ages due to the un­der­per­form­ing dam, res­i­dents, ho­tels, schools, and med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties within the ser­viced area have had to cope with dis­rup­tive ra­tioning.

When heavy rain­fall oc­curs, another prob­lem is cre­ated as wa­ter­courses are sus­cep­ti­ble to sil­ta­tion which im­pacts sig­nif­i­cantly on wa­ter qual­ity. Heavy rain­fall has, on oc­ca­sions, also trig­gered land­slides which have dam­aged in­take struc­tures and trans­mis­sion mains, lead­ing to wa­ter out­ages to ma­jor sys­tems.

The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia is seek­ing to ar­rest this prob­lem through a pro­gramme of in­fra­struc­ture up­grad­ing, as well as by boost­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tional ca­pac­ity build­ing of WASCO. The pro­ject in­cludes re­mov­ing and dis­pos­ing of sed­i­ment from the dam and in­stalling mon­i­tor­ing in­stru­men­ta­tion. WASCO will also be strength­ened by mea­sures to im­prove: its fi­nan­cial man­age­ment; soared de­serve our praise and ad­mi­ra­tion. Their mo­men­tous deeds show that as a peo­ple we can com­pete with the best in the world, in so very many fields of en­deav­our.

“I am proud of Levern, Jean­nelle, and all who con­tinue to rep­re­sent us in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. Gov­ern­ment has put fa­cil­i­ties and pro­grammes in place to help foster the growth and de­vel­op­ment of our ath­letes. But it is up to all ca­pac­ity to plan for cli­mate change im­pacts; and abil­ity to in­cor­po­rate gen­der spe­cific needs in its plan­ning. A rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing ini­tia­tive will also be un­der­taken in the vil­lage of Tete Chemin.

“The John Comp­ton dam has been sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by sil­ta­tion since a 2010 event. This pro­ject will re­store the ca­pac­ity of the dam and ad­dress the causes of sil­ta­tion. This, to­gether with the im­prove­ment of the oper­a­tions of WASCO, will cre­ate long term ben­e­fits to Saint Lu­cia. With the dam back to full ca­pac­ity we ex­pect that ra­tioning and short­ages may oc­cur ev­ery one in ten years, in­stead of its cur­rent rate of two out of ev­ery three years,” said An­drew Dupigny, CDB's Di­rec­tor of Projects (act­ing).

CDB's 2011 Saint Lu­cia Gen­der As­sess­ment iden­ti­fied that women, men and chil­dren who do not have ba­sic ameni­ties, in­clud­ing piped wa­ter in their homes, spend an in­or­di­nate amount of time fetch­ing wa­ter and on house­hold work. In some in­stances, these dif­fi­cul­ties place pres­sure on the time avail­able for bread­win­ners in the house­hold to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the labour mar­ket and thereby con­trib­ute to eco­nomic growth in the coun­try. Un­re­li­able wa­ter sup­ply strains house­hold bud­gets as res­i­dents ei­ther have to pur­chase bot­tled wa­ter or pay for wa­ter fetched from sources out­side of the com­mu­nity. Such in­con­ve­niences lower pro­duc­tiv­ity in ways such as late ar­rival for work and school. of us as pa­tri­otic Saint Lu­cians to rec­og­nize, celebrate and hon­our them. We must con­tinue to in­spire them to even greater ac­com­plish­ments.”

Levern is el­i­gi­ble to com­pete at her sixth World Cham­pi­onships next month, and her third Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year. Jean­nelle cleared 1.96m ear­lier this sea­son and is ex­pected to com­pete at her sec­ond World Cham­pi­onship and first Olympics.

CDB Funds Wa­ter Sup­ply Im­prove­ment and Re­pairs to the John Comp­ton Dam

In some cases, schools are closed early be­cause there is no wa­ter.

The pro­posed im­prove­ments to the wa­ter sys­tem should sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce these prob­lems and move Saint Lu­cia fur­ther along in the process of pro­vid­ing safe drink­ing wa­ter to 100% of its pop­u­la­tion, es­pe­cially to those com­pris­ing the di­verse com­mu­ni­ties of Castries and in the north of the is­land.

“The ap­proval of this pro­ject is sig­nif­i­cant for Saint Lu­cia be­cause the dam is right now run­ning at less than 50% ca­pac­ity and has about one month's sup­ply of wa­ter. Im­prov­ing the per­for­mance of the dam is crit­i­cal to ex­pan­sion of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in Saint Lu­cia,” said Tracy Polius, Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Na­tional De­vel­op­ment, Min­istry of Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs and So­cial Se­cu­rity and mem­ber of the CDB's Board of Di­rec­tors.

An ef­fi­cient and sus­tain­able wa­ter sec­tor is cen­tral to Saint Lu­cia's long-term de­vel­op­men­tal goals and is a pri­or­ity area for cap­i­tal in­vest­ment by the Gov­ern­ment. The pro­posed pro­ject sup­ports the strate­gic de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try's econ­omy by in­creas­ing the re­li­a­bil­ity of the wa­ter sup­ply to the main eco­nomic and com­mer­cial dis­tricts, and seeks to en­sure that all cit­i­zens ben­e­fit from safe and re­li­able ac­cess to the re­source in or­der to achieve the high qual­ity of health and san­i­ta­tion so vi­tal to all so­ci­eties.

Gold medal­ist Levern Spencer (cen­tre), sil­ver medal win­ner Priscilla Fred­er­ick of An­tigua (left) and bronze

medal­ist Akela Jones of Bar­ba­dos (right).

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