JIS News

Scores of residents from South Eastern St. Elizabeth as well as members of the National Labour Day Committee turned out early this morning to participate in the renovation of the Buena Vesta community centre, which was chosen as the national project for Labour Day 2005.
“Already, we have over 200 persons working on the site. The momentum will build up and by mid-day when we should have over 1,000 persons”, said Lenworth Blake, Member of Parliament for the area.
He told JIS News, that citizens turned out to work from as early as 6:30 a.m. “It is really a good project and we are also getting much support from corporate Jamaica,” he added, mentioning the support of companies such as GraceKennedy, Alumina Partners of Jamaica (ALPART), Facey Commodity, Mothers Patties and Juici Patties.
Some $8.5 million is being expended on the national project, which is the overhaul of the centre to serve as a model emergency shelter.
Mr. Blake noted that on completion, the new facility should be able to accommodate at least 200 persons in the event of a hurricane.
“I estimate that it will take us another three months to be completed”, said Dr. Donald Rhodd, Chairman of the National Labour Day Committee.
“Today we are reinforcing the columns and finishing off the substructure.of course it will take time for the concrete to set, the roof of course will be decked.the building will also have the benefit of a standby generator”, he added.
Labour Day 2005 is being observed under the theme: ‘Prepare for Disasters, Recover Faster,’ and Jamaicans are being encouraged to prepare for disasters to reduce risk to life and property. “In one year I think we spent over $4.7 billion on recovery efforts alone,” Dr. Rhodd stated.
More than 500 projects have been registered across the island, with most of the activities centred on drain and gully cleaning, road works and repairing community centres.
Dr. Rhodd noted that the emphasis on repairing community centres was to move way from the use of schools as emergency shelters.
Meanwhile, Director General for the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Dr. Barbara Carby endorsed the move to prepare emergency shelters.
“My hope is that this facility will be extensively duplicated across the island.a facility with its own water supply and emergency power, which will withstand not only hurricanes but also earthquake,” she said.
Minster of National Security, Dr Peter Phillips, who spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister, P. J. Patterson, stated that he was quite happy to see that Labour Day still meant a lot to the majority of Jamaicans.
“If each one help one, then as a people, there is nothing that we cannot achieve and nothing can stop us in building this country. Congratulations to those associated with this effort,” he stated.

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