JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding says the Government will be seeking to identify appropriate, affordable housing solutions for citizens, who live in dangerous areas, and risk life and property whenever there is a disaster.
He said he would be directing the Ministry of Water and Housing to identify the areas that are particularly dangerous and to carry out a survey in short order, “and at the same time, see how we can ensure that we don’t end up with the areas becoming even more populated after we have done the survey”.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a press conference, which he convened at Jamaica House on (Sept. 29), to provide an update on the damage caused by heavy rains that have affected the island since Sunday, and how the government is addressing the situation.
Mr. Golding, while acknowledging the need for humanitarian assistance, said that persons, who flout the laws and built in dangerous areas, would not be given an unfair advantage over those who have built their homes legally, in stable areas, but suffer damage or loss.
“Apart from the challenges we would have in finding the resources, there is a bit of unfairness in somebody, who decides that they need a house, but they are not prepared to break the rules, so they don’t build on the gully bank, and they don’t get any assistance, but persons who are quite prepared to flagrantly break the rules are rewarded. I know that there is humanitarian consideration that has to be looked at, so it has to be woven into a programme where they are going to have to pay for their housing,” he stated.
“What we are going to have to do is see how we can identify solutions that are within their affordability and work out an arrangement with them overtime as to how they are going to pay for it. Once we do that then we enforce as vigorously as possible the ‘no build rule’ that we instituted in relation to Hope River and several other places,” he stated.
Mr. Golding said that following the last major flooding, which severely affected residents living along the banks of the Hope River in St. Andrew, the government had made arrangements to relocate some persons who were “particularly exposed”.
Lands were identified in St. Thomas where considerable work has been done on infrastructure. Mr. Golding noted that 199 lots are being developed, with 13 houses already completed. “We are trying to make arrangements to ensure that the funding is in place to cover those,” he said.
He noted however that there have been some delays as it relates to the planning regulations. “For example, initially, we had intended to have individual sewerage disposal pits. As it turned out the regulatory agencies indicated that that would not be acceptable, so therefore, we have had to redesign the project to allow for a central sewerage disposal system, and that has caused some delay, but we are moving as quickly as possible,” he explained.

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