JIS News

Prime Minister has disclosed that over seventy thousand farmers and fisher-folk affected by Hurricane Ivan would as of Wednesday November 24 begin receiving benefits amounting to $300 Million. Mr. Patterson made the announcement during the tabling of a Ministry Paper outlining the progress of the national relief and recovery programme in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov. 23).
He said the funds that are to be provided by the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR), will be disbursed through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). In addition, approximately J$1 Billion will also be disbursed to farmers and fisher-folk by way of insurance payments, loans, grants and inputs from several sources including local and private sector companies and donor agencies.
The Prime Minister also disclosed that the reconstruction programme for 2004/05 will cost the country J$3.02 Billion. He said Cabinet has approved the tabling of the 1st Supplementary Estimate of Expenditure for Tuesday December 7th , at which time the proposed sources of funding will be identified.
Mr. Patterson stated that total disbursement to over 200,000 persons to assist with recovery amounts to J$4.5 Billion, including amounts for the relocation of residents in the communities of Portland Cottage, Rocky Point, Old Harbour Bay, Brighton, Salmon Point and Little Bay. He said the relocation should be completed by August next year.
The Prime Minister reiterated the government’s stance that it will not allow the reconstruction of houses in unsafe areas. “We intend to build back stronger and better shelter in locations that are safe,” he said.
In his Ministerial Statement, Mr. Patterson said over J$548.5 Million has been identified for the repair of schools and health facilities affected by the hurricane, while another J$220 Million has already been spent to clear roads across the island, including Parish Council roads. He said 98 per cent of all National Works Agency affected roads are now passable.
The Prime Minister said the country’s remarkable recovery two months after the hurricane was a testimony of the soundness of its disaster management plan. He said the lessons learnt from the experience of Ivan would be used to update, improve and perfect existing policies, plans and procedures to ensure that the nation is better prepared for future events.

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