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MP bemoans lack of planning as Clarendon hardest hit in flood rains

Friday, May 19, 2017

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Minister of Transport and Mining Mike Henry has bemoaned the lack of planning when developing infrastructure as he reflected Wednesday on the damage caused by flood waters associated with the prolonged rainfall over the past few days.The minister, who is also the member of parliament for Clarendon Central where more than 500 people have reported losses, said it is important for him to have bridges replaced.

“Basically, what is important for me now is to try to get the bridges put back. What is important, however, is to widen the transport system too, because we are building in areas we shouldn't be building on. We are not doing enough technical surveys. We saw the same also with the north-south highway without a geo-technical study in place. So, you can't do these things without really planning in relation to it,” suggested Henry, who was speaking to reporters in St James following the opening ceremony for the 6th International Road Federation Caribbean Congress at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel.

Henry said May Pen is badly damaged and continues to be threatened by rain. He said the recovery process will be a “big” one.

The minister spoke of the need for drains to be expanded as hills are denuded and also the need for the retraining of rivers.

“And where we are building roads, we are not building them in the context of where they began. If you look at Fern Gully until I put the concrete roads down and build it with this natural gully course concept to protect Ocho Rios, you have a problem,” Henry argued.

“So you denude the hills. More people live on the hills. More water is going to flow. Your drainage must be expanded and increased and you must take the water all the way out to the sea,” he continued. “You must retrain your rivers. You must be able to make them take the course that you want to help them to move...”

The torrential rain has been affecting parishes, some more severely than others, since the weekend, which is presumed to have left a hefty bill in its wake.

— Anthony Lewis

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