The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development wishes to dismiss any misguided notion that the Ministry has paid scant regard to the parish of Portland in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Despite the current global financial crisis and the tight fiscal space in which the Government must operate, the Ministry under the leadership of the Honourable Noel Arscott has been doing its utmost to address the needs of all Local Authorities.
The Ministry is particularly cognizant of the difficulties experienced in the eastern parishes which were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy last October. Consequently, substantial financial input has been made to aid the Parish Councils of St Mary, St Thomas and Portland in their recovery efforts. The Ministry allocated to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) the sum of $8M for each of those parishes to effect cleanup activities in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. There was also intervention through the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to the tune of $35M to support parish level relief operations. Additionally, a total of $40.0M was allocated to Local Authorities in December 2012 for special work programmes.
In respect of the Portland Infirmary, an estimate of $1.5m was received from the Council for rehabilitation work to be done to the infirmary and the Ministry has since made an allocation of $1.5M. That cheque, dated March 28, 2013, was picked up early last week. An allocation has been made in the 2013/14 budget for repairs to the Portland Infirmary along with three (3) others.