Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, says the Government will soon have a programme in place to support the country’s farmers and fishers who have been negatively impacted by the recent spate of heavy rains.
“The Ministry of Agriculture [and Fisheries] is now in the process of doing their assessment and we will very shortly have, hopefully by next week, a programme in place to assist our farmers and fishers to recover from the damage,” he said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a ceremony to hand over tablets to the Seaward Primary and Junior High School at its Olympic Way location in St. Andrew, on November 4.
He noted that the Government has already made allocations through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for those persons who have lost stock, and other items.
“We will do the usual assessment…and we will provide as much care and support as we can,” he further assured.
Government Assessing the Impact of Heavy Rains
Turning to the current heavy rains impacting the island, Mr. Holness said the Government has been examining the situation to quickly address the priority areas.
“As soon as there is a break in the current weather, if there is a land slip or a community is marooned, we will be mobilising resources to ensure that residents can have access and critical roadways are reopened – that work is underway,” he said.
Holness noted, however, that there are some situations that cannot be addressed immediately.
“We have to watch the weather very carefully and as soon as we are satisfied that there will not be a recurrence, then we can start to mobilise resources.So for example, the patching of roads, we definitely cannot do that at this point in time. We have to watch and see,” he said.
He says some drain cleaning will be done, as this is important in preventing further flooding.
“The Government is already mobilised…we’ve already made some allocations to do the immediate response. We are watching this new set of rain very carefully,” he said.
He pointed out that another damage assessment will be done by next week “and we will probably have to update our calculations…and we may very well have to do further reallocations in our budget”.
The Prime Minister had announced in Parliament last week that the preliminary estimate for the flood damage caused by the recent heavy rains is close to $2 billion.