Regional

Gibbs lauds MoBay's mayor for recovery efforts after flooding

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James – President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce T'Shura Gibbs has commended Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis for his inspirational leadership in returning the city to normalcy after it was ravaged by flash flooding last month.

“I ask you to join me in saluting the leadership of our mayor, Homer Davis, who I feel led the city with distinction and great poise during a most difficult period,” Gibbs said.

“He admirably coordinated with the local and central government to ensure that the resources and tools required to get Montego Bay up and open for business were in order.”

She was speaking at the chamber's 85th anniversary awards banquet at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall on Saturday night.

The flooding, which left a trail of thick mud and destruction, brought commercial activities in the downtown Montego Bay area to a virtual standstill. But swift response from the St James Municipal Corporation and other stakeholders including the National Works Agency (NWA), who was engaged in mopping up activities, quickly brought back commercial life to the resort city.

“There are few cities in the developing world that would have been able to withstand a month's worth of rainfall in three and a half hours, and yet get back on their feet within four days,” Gibbs argued.

Following the natural disaster, Mayor Davis estimated that damage could run into the region of $1 billion.

Apart from losses to the business community, a number of roadways were also damaged and several roadways blocked for hours.

A day after the massive flooding, Prime Minister Andrew Holness led a high-level team, including Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, representatives of the NWA, St James Members of Parliament, and the Montego Bay mayor, on a tour of sections of the affected areas.

It was later announced that a total of $20 million had been disbursed from the Equalisation Fund and the Emergency Fund to undertake emergency work in the battered city.

Meanwhile, Gibbs noted that the most memorable experience of her presidency was to witness the city rebound following the devastation.

“I believe one of the most marvellous moments I have experienced in this role (presidency), would be to witness first-hand, the resilience and determination of the people of this great city during what I want to call The Great Flood of 2017,”she said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday night, Montego Bay businessman and Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund Godfrey Dyer was inducted into the chamber's Business Leaders Wall of Fame, joining the esteemed company of hotel mogul Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, Joe Witter, Lloyd B Smith, Ralph Smith, Anthony 'Tony' Hart and Indru Dadlani.

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