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Public Utilities Minister welcomes UNICEF endorsement

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Wednesday, October 4, 2006 – Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities, Honourable Felix Finisterre, says he is pleased Saint Lucia is making a significant contribution to the Caribbean's achievement of major milestones in reaching various goals of the millennium development project.

Recently, UNICEF identified three regions, including the Caribbean, where major programmes to improve the water sector had been undertaken, resulting in an expansion of the number of places where portable water is now available as well as improvement in the quality of water making it safer for consumption.

According to the UNICEF statement, the Caribbean is on a fast track to meeting it's commitment to the Charter, ten (10) years before the 2015 deadline.

The report on water safe water and sanitation was presented by UNICEF, a United Nations agency promoting the welfare of the world’s children. UNICEF is monitoring interventions by countries which benefit children.

The Public Utilities Minister has welcomed the UNICEF endorsement of the efforts of Saint Lucia and the Caribbean to meet and surpass the expectations of the goals, indicating that Saint Lucia was “committed to making life better for all of its people.”

In the last few years, the Government of Saint Lucia has invested heavily in a robust programme of expansion and modernization of the water sector aimed at addressing long-standing acute water shortages in many parts of the island.

To date, a 20-inch pipeline project to the north of the island has been completed, with an additional 14-inch network being installed to move water from the John Compton Dam at Roseau to the thousands of homes in the northern part of the island where the shortage is most critical.

Additionally, a programme to improve the quality of pipes serving the south of the island along the Vieux-Fort/Soufriere highway was completed last year, making a significant difference to the service to households and businesses along the Vieux-Fort/Soufriere highway.

According to Mr Finisterre, “the government has been very focussed on transforming this sector. Water is a basic resource that must be afforded everybody in Saint Lucia and so it is a priority for the Government to ensure that investment in the water sector are given a top place in the developmental mandate of the government.

The Minister went on to say that “it has not been easy to modernize that sector.”

He explained: “The infrastructural work alone has been painful. The problem is that, we are building from scratch. Everywhere, we have done a major upgrade we having been doing more than just laying pipes. We are mapping and expanding at the same time. Once this is done, we will have a water sector which shows that the welfare of people have been placed at the centre of its development.

The Government’s water sector reform projects are being financed through the World Bank.

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