KINGSTON — State Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, has announced plans for the promulgation of a new building code next year, and the associated planning and legislation for its enforcement.
Speaking at the official opening of the Church Pen community centre and computer facility in St. Catherine, on August 17, Mrs. Robinson said the Department of Local Government is currently undertaking the necessary preparatory work to promulgate a “new and more effective” code and the attendant legislation, “to ensure that this new code will be vigorously enforced."
Citing predictions that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends on November 30, is expected to be an active one, she stressed the need for the nation to “stand united” in light of what could result, while assuring that “reducing the vulnerability of our communities to the effects of natural disasters, is a top priority of the Government."
The State Minister expressed concern over bad building practices carried in some communities, which she described as a “disaster waiting to happen." As a result, she said there is need for the nation to be more proactive in ensuring that such habits are discontinued, while assuring that “we (government) are working in that direction."
“The building code is a very important piece of legislation, because it will prevent persons from building in areas that are prone to natural disasters. We (are talking) about hazard mitigation; we want to stop disasters before they occur,” Mrs. Robinson said.
The Church Pen community and computer centre was undertaken at a cost of just over $5 million by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the Universal Access Fund (UAF), the National Housing Trust (NHT), the Social Development Commission (SDC), Member of Parliament for South West St. Catherine, Everald Warmington; and residents of Church Pen.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter