Shut down illegal projects, McKenzie urges

Shut down illegal projects, McKenzie urges

Monday, February 03, 2020

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STETTIN, Trelawny —Minister of Local Government and Community Service Desmond McKenzie has charged municipal corporations to become more forceful in clamping down on unapproved housing developments in light of the dangers they pose in the event of an earthquake.

He was speaking against the background of a magnitude 7.7 earthquake which struck Tuesday about 80 miles from Jamaica, shaking people in the Caribbean and as far away as Miami, USA.

“The municipal corporations will have to become more aggressive in shutting down developments, whether big or small, that don't have the requisite approvals from the local authorities.

“I want to say to the public, the Bible tells you that when the wise man and the foolish man were building the house, the foolish man wanted the easy way out so him build in the sand and the man who want to endure and to live good, did what was necessary, built on solid ground and we know what happened when the rains came,” the local government minister pointed out.

“I am urging all Jamaicans to stop ignoring the building regulation. You have many people who continue to build on the banks of gullies and you kotch up you house on the hillside and when the local authorities come you say is because you poor why dem fighting against you. You might be poor but they fighting against what you doing to protect you and your family and we are going to be doing lot of public education.”

McKenzie announced that Tuesday's experience has prompted the Ministry of Local Government to engage in a massive earthquake education drive across the island to educate citizens on the dangers associated when the natural disaster strikes.

“We have taken a decision that the time has come, it should have happened before, but we now have to take the message about the dangers of earthquake right across the country. We are going into the parish of St Elizabeth on the 13th (February) in Black River for another such town hall meeting and then we are going to Lucea in Hanover the following week, the 19th. We are going to be going across the entire length and breadth of Jamaica, into the town centres, into communities such as this (Stettin), into the schools, to talk to Jamaicans,” McKenzie noted.

“This Government decided that earthquake is not just in the month of January we talk about it. We started weeks ago, we had a town hall meeting in Trelawny where we spoke about disaster, we spoke about earthquake, we had one in Portland.”

Noting that it is not something to gloat about, the local government minister expressed satisfaction that the Jamaican buildings stood up to a 7.7 earthquake earlier this week.

“Despite the challenges we have as a country, our buildings stood up and resisted a 7.7 — that is nothing to gloat about but it is important. And so we must continue to be vigilant, we must continue to do what is necessary,” McKenzie said.

He was speaking at the handing over of an indigent house in Stettin in the southern part of Trelawny before heading to Martha Brae, in the northern side of the parish to engage in a similar exercise.

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