Jamaica must prepare – PM Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Parliament on Tuesday (Photo: Facebook @AndrewHolnessJM)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging Members of Parliament (MPs) to start assessing their constituencies and make pre-planning arrangements for hurricanes.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, against the background of the devastation in The Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian, Holness said MPs should start conversations about evacuation and other safety measures.

The Prime Minister further argued that at the national level, there is a comprehensive plan involving the first response state agencies, but that MPs must put together their own plans at the local level as they have intimate knowledge of their constituencies.

Holness said that given what happened in 2017 when the Caribbean region experienced two category five hurricanes and now Dorian, the country must intensify its plans.

He asserted that the 2019 hurricane season appears to be a very active one as already there are three more disturbances that could be upgraded to tropical cyclones.

The National Hurricane Centre in Florida, tracking the likely development of three systems (highlighted in yellow). Two heading west from the coast of Africa, could pose a threat to the Caribbean the in coming days (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA])

Holness stressed for Jamaicans to be prepared and stock up on hurricane supplies.

The Prime Minister also urged persons who live in low-lying areas and areas that are prone to flooding to prepare to evacuate if necessary.

“While your property is important, I would think that your life is more important. So, it is wise to start putting together your alternative plans, make contact with relatives in safer areas in the event that you have to evacuate, plan routs, mode of transportation, if the worst should happen,” Holness implored.

Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips said the Opposition joins with the Government in solidarity with the people of the Bahamas and supports the extension of assistance from the Government to the Bahamian authorities.

Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips (Photo: Facebook @DrPeterPhillipsJA)

At the same time, he said there needs to be a much more robust global response to the vulnerabilities of small states such as those in the region.

“The Caribbean is facing increasing risk from climate-related activities on account of global warming yet the response to our vulnerabilities from the global community needs to be much greater,” Dr. Phillips stated.

Roman Catholic archdiocese is preparing to initiate for Bahamian children displaced to come to Jamaica to enrol in schools commensurate with their levels and remain for a period.