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Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, says the disaster preparedness and emergency relief efforts undertaken prior and subsequent to the passage of Hurricane Sandy were demonstrative of the strong spirit of volunteerism that exists in Jamaica.    

Speaking at the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) second Parish/Town Hall Meeting in May Pen, Clarendon on Wednesday (October 31), Mr. Arscott in empathising with victims of the hurricane, highlighted several ministries, agencies and organisations, which lent support to the efforts.

These, he said, include: the Ministries of Transport, Works and Housing, and Health; National Works Agency (NWA); Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB); Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); Jamaica Red Cross; Adventist Development and Relief Association (ADRA), “and the many schools which opened their facilities as hurricane shelters in the various communities across Jamaica.”

“Especially now, we must remember that no man is an island and no man stands alone and we must extend a hand to our brothers and sisters on trying to assist them, in terms of trying to put their lives back together,” he said.

Mr. Arscott disclosed that, to this end, a number of initiatives, “some of them private”, will be launched “in the next few days”, while expressing the hope that support will be forthcoming from the various stakeholders, in executing these.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, through (the) local authorities, ODPEM, and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), will play a part in returning normalcy as quickly as possible,” he assured.

Wednesday’s meeting was one in a series of islandwide fora, being jointly staged by the Ministry and the SDC under the theme: ‘Government and Governance’.

They aim to provide Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and other members of the Cabinet and Government, with the opportunity to engage the public in discussions on a range of topical issues, and for relevant government agencies to provide updates on programmes and initiatives, specific to the local and parish levels.