JIS News

A motion moved by Member of Parliament for St. Andrew East Rural, Joseph Hibbert calling for the Ministry of Transport and Works to be charged with full responsibility for floodwaters and the mapping of all gullies and drains islandwide, was passed on Tuesday (Jan. 27) in the House of Representatives.
In his presentation, Mr. Hibbert said that given the impact of flood rains on the nation’s infrastructure and economy, an agency of Government should be charged with the full responsibility for such matters.
He said that persons across the country were living in fear of being trapped by flood rains, adding that these concerns should be addressed by identifying an agency to deal with the problem of flooding.
Mr. Hibbert argued that the agency, which was to be charged with that responsibility, would have had to demonstrate a proven track record in carrying out the required works, such as the designs, specifications and construction, the policing and enforcement, the preparations of maps, drawings and the supervising of these systems.
Continuing he said: “It must be one of technical competence and experience. to take full charge and to discharge these responsibilities. The agency which readily comes to mind is the Ministry of Transport and Works”.
Mr. Hibbert who is also Opposition spokesman on Works, said the Ministry should implement measures to prevent loss of lives through flooding.
“Measures must be put in place to address the all too frequent flooding of a number of structures, which are proving too small to adequately discharge floodwaters,” he said.
He recommended that all roads should be designed and constructed with adequate drains to allow for effective runoff of floodwaters, the reviewing of the designs of specifications of all drains, and the erection of sign posts at all fording to show the height of water.
Supporting the motion, Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill said: “The recommendations. we really do not have any problems with”.
He said that because there was no single agency responsible for floodwaters this had caused a problem over the years. However, he said that the National Works Agency had assumed the role of maintaining the road systems and as a result there was a proposal to have everything integrated. This proposal, he said would soon be submitted to Cabinet.
Turning to the mapping of gullies and drains, Minister Pickersgill mentioned that this had already started, with the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport completing maps for Kingston and St. Andrew, Portland, Portmore and St. Catherine. He said that the others should be finished in a few months.
“The motion is relevant and it has been supported very feelingly . we need the support of the citizenry too,” he said.

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