JIS News

Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has expressed relief that the island was spared the worst effects of Hurricane Dean, which passed south of the island on Sunday (Aug. 19).
At a press briefing at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) yesterday morning (Aug. 20), the Prime Minister called on religious institutions to organize a day of thanksgiving.
“I’m calling on all faith-based institutions to have a day of prayer and thanksgiving for really sparing us,” she said.
The Prime Minister noted that the island was spared the worst of the hurricane as a result of the level of preparedness.
“The fact that we did some mitigation work before . in terms of the critical drains and gullies and the river training work that was done, really spared a number of our areas that would have had people flooded out,” she said.
Commenting on the state of public emergency, which has been declared for the island, the Prime Minister explained that this was done to ensure the safety of life and property for each Jamaican and to secure the island’s territorial waters. She added however, that this declaration can be revoked once the assessments are completed.
“We will review this afternoon what is happening, because as soon as we are able to then I will again advise the Governor General and it will be revoked. It’s for one month but can be revoked at any time within the one month period,” she pointed out.
In terms of how the state of emergency may affect the staging of General Elections next Monday (Aug. 27), the Prime Minister said she has to put the interest of the nation first.
“We can’t have people suffering and be thinking of elections, so my focus is on the people and how well we can work . so that the country can be restored to normality and people can pick up their lives,” she stated.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister commended the many Jamaicans, who have come out to assist with cleaning up their communities and restoring normality.
“I want to pause to thank the people in the various communities across Jamaica, who are now out in their communities assisting others, who are affected and assisting to clear the roads in their communities. The spirit of community from Jamaicans of all walks of life is good and very encouraging and I feel very, very proud this morning to be a Jamaican,” she stated.

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