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Bolt lobbies for water in Sherwood Content

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter
Thursday, April 25, 2013


SHERWOOD CONTENT, Trelawny — The fastest man on the planet, 26-year-old Usain Bolt says he will be lobbying the government for a reliable water supply in his native Sherwood Content.

The community has suffered from a lack of piped water from the National Water Commission since the famed sprinter's childhood days.

"I was told that we need to try to talk to the Government about running the water up here. So that is the next thing I think I will try to put forward to the Government," Bolt told the Observer West last week.

"...I think we have to put that towards the Government and hopefully everything will work out. But that is the only thing we have a problem with now," he added.

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The legendary sprinter was speaking to the Observer West on Saturday after the Usain Bolt Foundation and the Digicel Foundation handed over a $4-million multi-purpose court, expected to benefit some 1,500 residents of Sherwood Content and surrounding communities.

The multi-purpose court was the latest project in which the acclaimed sprinter — who put on a treat for over 200 children in Sherwood Content last Christmas — has undertaken to uplift his community and the wider parish.

Last year Bolt donated a new bus to his alma mater, William Knibb Memorial High School in Martha Brae, Trelawny. The track star has also assisted in the $4million renovation of the health centre in the Sherwood Content community as well as the upgrading of Waldensia Primary and Piedmont Basic Schools — schools he attended in his formative years.

Also, the Usain Bolt Foundation recently contributed to several charities including the Cardiac Surgery Programme at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, five primary and basic schools in Portland with playground equipment and has donated items for several fund-raising events for children with special needs.

Telka Holt, PNP councillor for the Sherwood Content Division, who applauded Bolt for "assisting" in the development of Sherwood Content expressed her determination to have a reliable water supply there.

"We want to make sure that we balance the people's lives in Sherwood Content and balancing that will also come with the fact that they need water," she said.

She noted that water pipes have been laid from Sherwood Content to the neighbouring Reserve community and that a pump has been installed. However, she said, the NWC has been facing challenges with turbidity at the water source. She cited the need to look to an alternative source.

Member of Parliament for North Trelawny Patrick Atkinson told the Observer West that he has made representation to Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill to address the matter.

The absence or inadequacy of running water remains a huge problem for a large segment of Jamaica 's rural population.

According to NWC Western Julia Gordon, the NWC acting community relations manager for the western region, the utility company is looking to activate the nearby Peru well to supply Sherwood Content with water. The project will include the installation of a booster station, a reservoir and the laying of two kilometres of pipe at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Not even a dogged downpour was able to put a damper on Saturday's proceedings hosted by Bolt and the Digicel Foundation.

The gift to the sprinter's home community not only included the multi-purpose court but also the levelling of a an area for football and other field-related sporting activities.

"It's a great joy to be able to give back to my community and play my part in creating sporting opportunities for the children. I want to thank Digicel, especially and all who contributed to making this project a reality," he said.

Bolt and members of the community "christened" the court during a friendly hoop-shooting competition.

Digicel Foundation Executive Director Samantha Chantrelle said that "the link between sports and development has been seen across the globe".

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