Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of hurricane Gilbert, the Honourable
Noel Arscott Minister of Local Government & Community Development said proper building practises as well as heeding warnings are essential in mitigating hurricane damage.
Recounting the devastating impact of Hurricane Gilbert on September 12, 1988, Minister Arscott said that while a combination of factors contributed to the extent of the damage suffered across the island, poor construction practises was a major cause. He cited the practise of building in unsafe areas, poorly constructed roofs and failure to get the required building approvals as issues of concern. “We have to ensure the structural integrity of our buildings”, he said charging Parish Councils to ramp up their efforts to get persons to adhere to the rules and regulations set out in the Building
Addressing the importance of disaster mitigation to economic prosperity the Local Government
Minister pointed to the work being done by the Ministry to strengthen this area. He said that the
amendments being made to the Building Act are now with the Chief Parliamentary Council and it is hoped that the Bill will be passed by March 2014. He also spoke to the Disaster Risk
Management Bill that is being pursued by the Ministry.
Hurricane Gilbert was the first hurricane to hit Jamaica directly since hurricane Charlie in 1951.