Greater Scrutiny Coming for Settlements as Government Tackles Climate Change
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaicans are to prepare for significant developments to address informal, irregular, and dangerous settlements.This, as he officially reopened the section of the Gordon Town main road which was severely damaged by rainfall in 2020. Speaking on Friday, (October 29, 2021) at the opening ceremony in East Rural St. Andrew, the Prime Minister noted that these major infrastructure developments will see the Government building sustainable settlements, redeveloping infrastructure to make them adaptable and resilient where possible, and assist people to relocate. “I want the Jamaican people to understand that in the coming decade, we will have to be spending far more time in treating with informal settlements, irregular settlements, settlements that are in dangerous and unsustainable areas. That will require persons who are in such settlements to move, but the Government is going to put in place a programme to ensure that you have a better place to move to and that the condition in which you are currently, is better when you move,” said Prime Minister Holness. The Prime Minister further stated that stronger rules must be in place for settlement as the country cannot continue to spend resources to rescue people, rehabilitate homes and fix roads in dangerous areas especially with the changes in weather activities to come with climate change. In this regard, Prime Minister Holness further stated that his participation in the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow will be to push the agenda to increase funding for developing countries like Jamaica to strengthen infrastructure. The Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction as the Gordon Town Main Road project was completed on time and under budget. The initial budget was projected at $187 million, and only $150 million was spent. According to Prime Minister Holness, “The project saw the construction of a retaining structure, over 24 metres high. This structure consists of three tiers, a reinforced concrete foundation that is 1.7 metres by 5.7 metres wide, reinforced concrete retaining wall, that is 9.3 metres high, and a reinforced concrete wall with a base that is 2.5 metres high by 9.5 metres wide, with the main structure being 10.5 metres high by 7.7 metres wide.” The project was completed through the collaborative effort of the National Works Agency, NF Barnes Construction and Equipment Co Ltd, and Kinetic Engineering Services.