JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has emphasised that a community approach must be taken, to efficiently plan for disasters and effectively manage them.
“I am urging the Regional Co-ordinators to get a listing of key personnel in every community, as these persons are critical in their communities, in terms of a network,” he said, noting that this would be critical in ensuring the safety of all, whenever a disaster occurs.
He also noted that this network was critical to the flow of information, which would ultimately save lives.
The State Minister was speaking at the Mayors and Secretary Managers Conference on Disaster Preparedness, under the theme: ‘Taking the Lead.Strengthening the Local Authorities’ Disaster Risk Reduction Programme’, held at the Local Government Reform Unit, at 85 Hagley Park Road in Kingston, on August 19.
Mr. Montague said that approaches needed to be planned, which would aid whenever a disaster strikes. These include: prepositioning equipment in strategic locations that are most likely to be flooded or blocked; locating private operators who have equipment that can be used; and ensuring that all the relevant authorities have a copy of the names of the individuals, so that they can be contacted, whenever necessary.
He also advised that each Parish Council should have at least a five megawatt generator; there should be adequate supplies of fuel, spark plugs and cellular phone chargers; and most importantly, the infirmaries should be checked to ensure the safety of the occupants.
In the meantime, Mr. Montague is urging individuals who partake in activities, which would ultimately have a negative impact on the country, to desist from these practices.
He also noted that several perpetrators have been identified and as such, measures have been or would be implemented to deal with these persons or organisations.
Mr. Montague said that some residents, especially in the housing schemes, are using the road sides as “storerooms and storage yards,” and these materials could cause blockage of the drains, which would ultimately lead to flooding.
The State Minister informed that he has advised Superintendents in the Parish Councils, to begin serving notices on people who have these materials on the road, as of Monday, August 25.
He warned that if individuals do not remove these materials within seven days, they would be taken away.
“We are going to be spending some money on the housing scheme roads and it will be very sad if we allow these offending persons to allow these roads to be destroyed in very short order, we are going to get some criticism.but we have to do what we have to do,” Mr. Montague said.
The State Minister lauded the Parish Councils for the work they have been doing, and commended them for cleaning the drains.
The conference sought to formally bring several key strategic, planning and operational information to the attention of the local authority leadership, in order to enhance planning and co-ordination; but more importantly, to re-establish the importance of the local authority as a key plank of the National Disaster Management Framework.