JIS News

Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Delford Morgan, has emphasized that the time had come for local authorities to be empowered to deal directly with the growing problems of squatting and settlements in flood-prone areas, in order to ensure greater protection of lives and property.
Addressing the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Parish Council on September 8, the Mayor cited the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans and other parts of the United States, stressing that Jamaica must ensure that the appropriate lessons are learnt.
“I believe that there is a role for the government to play in all of this.
Government has to come in, in a very forceful way and demonstrate its sincerity in regards to the relocation of people. I really hope that the Prime Minister’s intention to have legislation drafted to deal with compulsory evacuation is brought on stream early, but I would also want due consideration to be given to the whole idea of empowering local authorities to deal first hand with the matter of squatting and the matter of settlements in very low-lying and flood-prone areas, so that in the end we may obviate the need for evacuation,” he said.
Mr. Morgan, who is also Chairman of the Council, emphasized that citizens should “no longer be left to live wherever they please”, and pointed to persons in the parish who were living too close to the sea and to the river banks, and on the hillsides.
He is appealing to the citizens to reconsider their location and to relocate before it was too late.
“As our sympathies go out to the people of New Orleans and other areas in the USA, let me appeal to our own residents that we can’t continue to live in just about anywhere under the guise of being poor, because the poor will continue to lose out in that scenario,” he said.