Government to Reduce Number of Shelters

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government is reducing the number of shelters across the island from 900 to 700.
  • The Minister pointed out that 900 shelters were too many for a country the size of Jamaica, and that countries bigger than Jamaica are operating fewer shelters.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government is reducing the number of shelters across the island from 900 to 700.

Mr. McKenzie was addressing disaster coordinators and public relations officers from 13 municipal corporations at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in St. James on July 5.

The meeting focused on the local authorities’ general state of readiness for the hurricane season.

The Minister told the gathering that the Government would be setting aside some $20 million to renovate selected community centres.

“We have to pay special attention to Cave Valley and Douglas Castle in St. Ann; Sunny Side in St. Catherine; sections of Clarendon, Portland, St. Thomas and St. Mary that require special attention.

Whenever there is an event, persons in shelters in these parishes stay longer. So, we intend, this year, to spend some money on these selected community centres,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that 900 shelters were too many for a country the size of Jamaica, and that countries bigger than Jamaica are operating fewer shelters.

“We have to do that because 95 per cent of shelters across the country are found in schools. If anything happens this [hurricane] season, we will be using some of the shelters, but we will be looking more at community centres in selected parishes to renovate them to become shelters,” he said.

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