JIS News

As the May rains continue and the start of the hurricane season fast approaches, members of the community of old Passagefort in Portmore, St. Catherine are taking action to deal with the heavy rains, which usually pose a serious problem due to a poor drainage system.
This morning (May 23), members of the community and particularly Myrtle Drive and London Avenue, turned out in their numbers to assist with activities to clean the drains and to use marl to absorb the excess water that has already settled.
Minister of Development and Member of Parliament for South Eastern St. Catherine, Dr. Paul Robertson told JIS News that co-operation was key to maintaining drains. “This particular area is very low lying and has a serious drainage problem. For the time being, what we are doing is filling in places that have been dug out so that people can actually move about easier,” he said.
Dr. Robertson noted that efforts were being made to implement an Operation PRIDE project in the community, which is home to some 1,000 persons. Work is also being carried out on a sewer main, which will further enhance the standard of living of residents.
Member of the planning committee for the project, Basil Taylor said the work would help the residents to prepare for the hurricane season, until other remedial work is carried out.
“This is just in case we have a disaster, people will not be so badly affected, because there will be less danger from the accumulation of water. All the sink holes that lead to the drains will be cleaned out to allow a smooth flow of water to the main depository,” he explained.
Meanwhile, JIS News also visited a beautification and road safety project at Naggo Head in Portmore, where State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Planning and Member of Parliament for Southern St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson was taking part.
Mr. Jackson said the 2005 Labour Day theme, ‘Prepare for Disaster, Recover Faster’ was a relevant one, which was not only a Labour Day obligation but also a daily obligation for every Jamaican.
“The cost of recovery is far greater than the prevention, so if we can invest in the prevention, we can save ourselves in terms of material loss and in terms of personal distress to ourselves and our families,” he stated.
Mr. Jackson explained that the project, which involved the painting of curb walls in the vicinity of the bus park and a pedestrian crossing, was one that had been initiated by the community and was supported by him.
“What I have done over the past few years, rather than organize projects directly myself, is to work in conjunction with the various community groups, because I believe in empowering the communities. So I let them initiate and then I give support in cash or kind to what they are doing,” he said.
Councillor for the area, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, pointed out that disasters could occur in a number of ways, including road accidents and thus “we are trying to prepare for disaster by way of accidents, by painting the curb walls”.
“It’s a community effort and its very good to see that most of the work is being carried out by young men in the community. It’s a positive sign. It’s good to see the youth who are normally at odds coming together and working for one cause to beautify their community,” he added.
Main organizer for the activities and President of the Naggo Head Citizens’ Association, Vernal Salmon noted that the work would have “a great impact on the community in terms of a face-lift and also uplifting the community and to keep the peace going in the community and to maintain it”.
Seventy-five projects have been registered for Labour Day with the Portmore Municipal Council. Works include bushing along roadways and open lots, cleaning of drains, painting of schools, signs and pedestrian crossings, repair of fences, cleaning of common areas, including parks, cleaning of gullies and beautification.

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