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  • The Disaster Risk Management Bill has been submitted for Cabinet’s approval, ahead of its tabling in the House of Representatives.
  • The Ministry has made significant strides over the past two years in relation to its legislative agenda.
  • The Disaster Risk Management Bill seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says the Disaster Risk Management Bill has been submitted for Cabinet’s approval, ahead of its tabling in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Arscott, who was making his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 17, said the Ministry has made significant strides over the past two years in relation to its legislative agenda.

The Disaster Risk Management Bill seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms, through a range of measures.

These include: according recognition to existing organisational structures, such as the National Disaster Committee, Parish Disaster Committees, and Zonal Committees, with their roles and functions clearly established; provisions to legally evacuate persons identified as being at risk, based on their location; identifying and earmarking high risk areas as especially vulnerable areas, and outlining the necessary steps to be taken in respect of such areas.

Mr. Arscott also reiterated that Cabinet has issued drafting instructions for three strategic laws, which are pivotal to the process of local government reform.

“We have received and commented on draft Bills for the Local Government Financing and Financial Management Act and the Local Government (Unified Services) and (Employment) Act, and we await the Governance Bill,” he said.

The legislation will facilitate the modernisation of the local government system in Jamaica and enable local authorities to more effectively respond to the citizenry.

The laws are also considered a major step in adding legal authority to the role and functions carried out by the authorities, which will allow them to operate within a new governance framework and become more responsive to its citizens.