Gov’t to Assist Mobay Flood Victims

Photo: JIS Photographer Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre), walks through mudded streets in the aftermath of heavy flooding that affected Montego Bay on November 22. The Prime Minister visited the Second City on Thursday (November 23) to assess the damage.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government will be assisting persons who have been affected by the massive flooding that ravaged sections of Montego Bay, St. James, on Wednesday (November 22).
  • Addressing the media following a tour of the affected areas on Thursday (November 23), Mr. Holness said that in addition to a $20-million emergency allocation from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, he will also have a meeting with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security “to see how best they can also help with the emergency at hand”.
  • For his part, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, informed that he has already approved $10 million from the Parish Emergency Fund, and an additional $10 million will come from the Equalisation Fund.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government will be assisting persons who have been affected by the massive flooding that ravaged sections of Montego Bay, St. James, on Wednesday (November 22).

Addressing the media following a tour of the affected areas on Thursday (November 23), Mr. Holness said that in addition to a $20-million emergency allocation from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, he will also have a meeting with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security “to see how best they can also help with the emergency at hand”.

“I want to say that the Government will support as much as we can with the recovery efforts,” he said.

“We want to ensure that persons who have been affected, who have lost property, especially homeowners, that there will be some assistance provided,” he said.

The Prime Minister further noted that the people of Montego Bay should be commended for their quick response to the flooding and also for their willingness to go the extra mile to assist each other.

“It is important to say that Montego Bay is still open for business,” Mr. Holness said. “What I have seen here is an incredible resilience of spirit. The people of Montego Bay, especially in the town centre, who have been affected, they are up, they are about, they are cleaning up, they are drying out and they are looking to start again,” he said.

“I haven’t seen one person with a defeatist attitude. Everyone is positive and it speaks to the kind of frontier spirit of Montego Bay, the ‘go-getting’, the enterprising, the hard work, the optimistic spirit of Montego Bay. I want to commend the people who have been affected, but who have come out, nonetheless, to restart their work,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Holness also praised the St. James Municipal Corporation for the “incredible response effort” and for being there for the people in a moment of crisis.

“From what I have observed, they are out in the town centre cleaning up, they have mobilised equipment and they have mobilised people,” he said.

“I see the great effort being made, and I must also commend the leadership of Mayor Homer Davis. I am very proud of the work he and his team have done, and I am expecting in another two or three days, providing that there is no more heavy phenomenal weather to affect the people of Montego Bay, we should be back to normal,” he said.

For his part, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, informed that he has already approved $10 million from the Parish Emergency Fund, and an additional $10 million will come from the Equalisation Fund.

He said that he will be meeting with all the relevant agencies, including the National Works Agency (NWA), to make a proper assessment of the damage and also to chart a way forward.

“I will return to Montego Bay next week where I will be spending two days, so as to take a proper look at the situation and to see how we can move forward,” Minister McKenzie indicated.

He cautioned residents against the improper disposal of garbage, noting that it was a major contributing factor to the flooding.

The heavy rains caused heavy flooding in the city centre area and neighbouring communities. A number of businesses, including the RIU Hotel in Ironshore, were affected, and areas such as Union Street, St. James Street, Gully and Sam Sharpe Square were impassable for several hours.

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