JIS News

Roadways in sections of Eastern and Western St. James, which took a battering from persistent heavy rainfall last week, are to receive immediate attention.
A special action team, to be headed by Dr. Barbara Carby of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and made up of key representatives from the St. James Parish Council, Ministry of Transport and Works, Ministry of Land and Environment and the Ministry of Water and Housing, is to assist in the process of correcting the situation.
“The team will be mandated to look at the problems in relation to the recent flooding, what caused these problems and what we need to do quickly and then put a Cabinet submission together. We are hoping that the team will meet as early as next week and prepare a report with appropriate recommendations,” Minister of Land and Environment, Dean Peart has said.
He was addressing a press conference at the Wyndham Hotel in Montego Bay on May 5, after touring the affected areas in St. James.
Minister Peart was accompanied by Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill; Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan; Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Dr. Fenton Ferguson; Member of Parliament for East Central St. James, Edmond Bartlett; Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Noel Donaldson, and senior staff members of the National Works Agency, the National Environment and Planning Agency and ODPEM.
The team visited the flood-damaged areas of Green Pond, Albion, Portobello, Fording, Somerton, Dumfries, Chatham, Paisley, Lilliput and Rose Hall.
A special visit was made to the home of relatives of businesswoman Carol Cooke, who lost her life when the vehicle she was travelling in, was washed away by flood waters at Fording.
In his address at the press conference, Minister Pickersgill said the tour was “a fruitful eye opener” in certain respects, and that the cleaning of main drains and repair work on badly damaged roads would begin immediately.
“The Ministry of Transport and Works is concerned about the state of the gullies with much tree trunks and other debris blocking them and the level of damage caused on the roadways as a result of this. I am now making an appeal to the general citizenry to develop a more responsible attitude and respect for the environment and not to throw garbage and other stuff into the gullies, as this irresponsible action will come back to haunt us,” Minister Pickersgill warned.
Mr. Buchanan, who also addressed the press conference, stressed that citizens had a critical role to play in making the environment safe for all.
“We expect that citizens in all communities will now play their part in ensuring that the drains, gullies and the general environment is kept free from the sort of debris that I saw blocking a number of the drains. If we do not engage our citizens in that kind of environmentally sensible practice, then these difficulties will create havoc for all,” he stressed.

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