My fellow Jamaicans…
Hurricane Sandy has come and gone. The nation must be thankful that once again we have been spared the worst. I thank the Almighty for his protection of our nation.
This morning, I convened a meeting of the National Disaster Executive. The agencies presented an update on the impact of the storm and gave a preliminary assessment of damage.
I am just returning from an aerial tour of sections of the parishes of St. Thomas, Portland, St. Mary and St. Catherine, which are among those that have been particularly hard-hit.
Apart from the visible signs of flooding and blocked roads, there was evidence of widespread damage to small farms and crops, and some damage to roofs. Several rivers also remain in-spate.
Teams from the various agencies and contractors have been deployed to tackle two immediate priorities — clearing roadways of fallen trees and debris, and the restoration of electricity.
In the meantime, many of you have already started your own clean-up efforts as you try to get your lives and businesses back to normal.
I have instructed various agencies to submit by tomorrow, Friday, detailed reports with their priorities for recovery. These will be considered at next Monday’s Cabinet Meeting.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Jamaican people for caring for each other and especially for the children, the elderly, persons with disabilities and the vulnerable among us, during the passage of Hurricane Sandy.
I also thank the teams from the disaster response agencies, and other essential service personnel for their dedication to duty displayed during the passage of the storm.
I particularly wish to identify the many men and women from the agencies of government and the private sector. Very often they place themselves at risk in the interest of the nation and their fellow countrymen and women.
I wish to thank the team members of ODPEM, the Parish Disaster Committees, local authorities, the Jamaica fire brigade, the security forces, health personnel and all other national emergency responders.
Additionally, those hardworking volunteers from the Red Cross, Salvation Army, ADRA, Help Age, St Johns, St Patrick’s Foundation and Food for the Poor
Representatives of governments from the international community, including my Sister Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago have made contact to enquire what they can do to assist in our recovery activities.
I know these are challenging times, but, as we have done in the past, we will draw on the indomitable spirit, strength, courage, determination and resilience of our people to unite and to work together to get through this challenging period.
Continue to keep safe and God bless you all.