JIS News

Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Hanif Brown, says that despite the passage of Tropical Storm Tomas, the parish remains on alert for heavy rains which threatens its infrastructure, as well as persons living in low lying and flood prone areas.
“We don’t believe we are out of the woods, yet. There could still be heavy downpour from the outer bands of the storm,” he told JIS News.
The Mayor said emergency services have been activated. Persons worked through the night at the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) Thursday (November 4), where over 200 emergency calls were received. The inquiries were mainly about shelters, weather condition and the status of various red-flagged areas.
“There was a high level of preparation, a high level of consciousness, physical preparation. The National Works Agency had equipment in strategic areas, waiting to restore had there been any dislocation,” Mayor Brown stated.
About 150 persons took precautionary measures and moved into shelters, but Mayor Brown said that those persons would not be encouraged to stay for long.
“We’re encouraging persons in shelters to go back to their homes today, to check if everything is OK; listen to the weather briefings and, if needs be, return to the shelter later,” he said.
Addressing the issue of drain cleaning, Mayor Brown told JIS News that the huge network of drains in the parish requires an ongoing cleaning programme. The Parish Council received some $3 million to assist in drain cleaning, as a part of the flood mitigation measures for the parish.
“Even up to Thursday morning (November 4), we were still busy trying to ensure that the mouths of some of these drains were cleared. We have a large network of drains, especially in the flat areas of the parish,” he noted.
Mayor Brown also pointed out that there was need for greater public involvement in keeping the drains in the parish clean.
“What would greatly assist, as time goes by, is greater public education , as a lot of the stuff we take out, apart from dirt caused by erosion, is from human beings dumping things in the drains,” he pointed out.