“We want our Jamaican people to be climate-smart and to incorporate issues of the environment and climate in the decision about how you live and where you choose to live.”
Prime Minister Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is imploring Jamaicans to pay attention to the environment and be careful where they choose to settle as the impact of climate change becomes more and more pronounced.
Speaking on Tuesday (November 21, 2023) at the National Land Agency (NLA) Titling Ceremony in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, Prime Minister Holness underscored that in the past governments have supported illegal settlements on land that contributed to houses being built improperly in areas not designated for living. He said in times of natural disasters, this leads to houses being affected by flooding and adverse weather effects.
The Prime Minister said: “What has hurt us for many years is that governments have winked at this kind of behaviour [illegal settlement]. In fact, [previous] governments have supported it [illegal settlement]. I will not be that government. I am telling you what the scientists have said, which is that know that the weather and the climate will become even more unpredictable and intense, and will cause greater damage to our shelter solutions.”
In this regard, Prime Minister Holness urged citizens to be climate-smart and build houses according to the building codes on legal land and avoid riverbanks, steep slopes, soft oil, and gully banks.
“Nobody wants to take away your land. Nobody wants to deprive you of where you live. We say these things because we care about you and for too long you have been acting in the dark without understanding the impact of these natural events on your own survival. We want our Jamaican people to be climate-smart and to incorporate issues of the environment and climate in the decision about how you live and where you choose to live.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted that all roads being built at this time are being constructed inland and elevated away from the sea level. He noted the highways are also being built with large culverts to reduce the impact of flooding that comes with heavy rains.