PM Charges MDAs to Ensure All is in Place for Hurricane Season

Photo: Donald De La Haye Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right, seated) and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (left, seated), sign a document for the restructuring of committees of the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC) following a meeting of the Council at Jamaica House on Tuesday, June 27. Looking on (from left, standing) are: Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Major Clive Davis; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Denzil Thorpe; Chairman of ODPEM, Joy Douglas; Member of Parliament, Clarendon South West, Noel Arscott; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. J.C. Hutchinson; and State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Rudyard Spencer.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has charged all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that all systems, protocols and practices are in place that will ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness in their response during the hurricane season.
  • Between 11 and 17 tropical storms are expected for the period, which runs from June to November, and five to nine hurricanes.
  • Mr. Holness said the Government is taking a proactive approach to natural disasters, noting that this is critical in ensuring the effectiveness of first responders and is in the best interest of all Jamaicans.

 

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has charged all Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure that all systems, protocols and practices are in place that will ensure optimal efficiency and effectiveness in their response during the hurricane season.

He was addressing senior leaders and heads of MDAs at a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC) at Jamaica House on Tuesday (June 27).

Mr. Holness said it is critical that the nation is prepared for what is projected to be an active season.

Between 11 and 17 tropical storms are expected for the period, which runs from June to November, and five to nine hurricanes.

“Whatever situation may arise, natural or man-made, we must be in a position to respond with the utmost urgency and coordination… I believe that we are taking the necessary steps as of today to alert our response system to get ready and be prepared,” he said.

Mr. Holness said the Government is taking a proactive approach to natural disasters, noting that this is critical in ensuring the effectiveness of first responders and is in the best interest of all Jamaicans.

He noted the emphasis is on disaster risk reduction, as opposed to disaster management, with focus placed on assessing weaknesses, risks and putting measures in place to mitigate disasters.

Disaster risk reduction is being mainstreamed into development policies, strategies, plans and programmes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness urged Jamaicans to take personal responsibility in preparing for potential events.

 

“(We have to) make better decisions about where we choose to live, how we choose to build, how we choose to dispose of our waste, and how we care for and protect our environment. It is all about preparing more and repairing less,” he said, referencing the theme for Disaster Preparedness Month: ‘Disasters happen. Prepare more, repair less’.

Disaster Preparedness Month is observed in June. The NDRMC is the policy and technical oversight committee guiding the national response to disasters.

It comprises the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Meteorological Service, Jamaica Fire Brigade, Ministry of Labour and Social

Security, National Works Agency, Ministry of Health and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

The NDRMC meeting was used to accept reports from all MDAs with disaster response responsibilities on their readiness for the season.

It also included the signing and adoption of the proposal for the restructuring of the committees of the council.

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