JIS News

Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has recommended that the allocation for Natural Disaster Mitigation and Management in the current budget be significantly increased.
“Jamaica is a small island developing state. This places us at the epicentre of the challenges that come with Global Warming and Climate Change, for which there is a growing body of evidence which proves that this is a clear and present danger that is already affecting our shores,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She added that the issue of rising sea levels, increases in the frequency and impact of hurricanes and other natural disasters, must be centralised in any development strategy that the country formulates going forward.
The Opposition Leader was making her contribution to the 2009/10 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives today (April 30).
The National Hazard Management in Urban Coastal Areas project received $27.4 million in the 2009/10 Estimates of Expenditure. The project’s overall goal is to strengthen disaster risk management in towns and cities located in coastal areas in Jamaica.
On another matter, Mrs. Simpson Miller recommended that the country begin to consider nuclear energy for the national grid.
“I strongly urge the Government to begin to explore our options in this area,” she said.
She also noted that Jamaica has the basis for agro processing industries in a number of areas such as tomato, mango, breadfruit and ackee.
“Our sought after exotic fruits could be dried and packaged during the season when there is inevitably a glut on the market. Jamaica can still become a regional hub for food processing for export, as well as for local consumption. The time to move in this direction is now,” Mrs. Simpson Miller urged.
She also pointed out that the current economic crisis was of an unprecedented scale and has the potential to lead to the impoverishment of entire nations, and suggested that governments must play the lead role in strengthening the social safety net and the protection of the people.
“We must be able to achieve these outcomes and must engineer new arrangements to allow us to do so. We must forge a strategy of thinking globally, negotiating regionally, planning nationally, and acting locally,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She also called for the country to be proactive, adding that, “we must enlist all our people in this most important national objective.”
“At this time of great adversity we need to bond together, community by community and parish by parish, as one family working for the betterment of our country. The solutions to our challenges rest in the hearts and minds and hands of all Jamaicans, those abroad and those at home. Let us all set aside the differences that separate us and focus on the bonds that unite us,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

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