(JIS) – Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has said that the government is engaging construction industry stakeholders regarding the development of more energy-efficient buildings that would serve to reduce Jamaica’s fuel bill.
Noting that the matter was “under consideration”, Mr. McKenzie said it required the engagement of the wider industry and advised that, “those discussions have commenced”.
The Minister indicated that industry stakeholders have also been in discussions with at least one local authority, the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), on the matter.
He was speaking during Monday’s (November 1) press conference for the seventh semi-virtual Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP21), at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.
Mr. McKenzie informed that steps have been initiated to ensure that new buildings are equipped with energy-saving features for, among other things, water harvesting.
He further indicated that all municipal buildings being constructed are required to be energy-efficient in terms of electricity and water supply, to reduce the associated costs.
“So, the government is leaning towards that, and we are doing that with our infirmaries as a start,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie said a strong and effective local government system was necessary in the quest towards disaster risk reduction.
He noted that Jamaica has a robust system comprising, among other stakeholders, parish disaster coordinators in all 14 parishes.
“We have a network of volunteers [who] can [indicate which] communities are vulnerable [and which] areas are prone to flooding,” the Minister further informed, while highlighting the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) role in the process.
“So… I would recommend to my fellow brothers and sisters within the region that an effective local government system can help, in many ways, in the fight against disasters,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The four-day conference, which runs from November 1-4, is being jointly hosted by the Jamaica Government, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).