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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has announced that a task force has been established to define a ‘no building’ boundary, beyond which no construction is to be allowed along the Hope River in St. Andrew.
The Prime Minister, who made the announcement during a statement to the House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 2), said the task force will institute measures to monitor the area, to prevent any further building activities and will also identify persons currently occupying lands beyond the ‘no-build’ line.
The task force will also identify alternative lands for the relocation of persons, starting with those whose buildings are in the greatest danger and will also provide assistance to and enforce the relocation of these persons.
“The reason we have made it specific to the Hope River, is that I want to make sure that we get it right and if we do, then to use that as a model for treating with other river banks and gully courses that are occupied,” Mr. Golding said.
A number of houses along river banks in Tavern and Kintyre, collapsed into the river resulting in the death of four persons. Several other houses remain precariously perched on the edge of the river bank, with sections of some houses suspended in mid-air, with more than 100 feet above the river.
“No building should ever have been allowed to be erected at such a location,” Mr. Golding said.
The task force will be under the direction of the Minister of Transport and Works and will include representatives from the National Works Agency (NWA); the Ministry of Water and Housing; the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC); the Water Resources Authority (NWA); the National Land Agency (NLA) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.