Fire Ravaged Communities are Suffering from Neglect – Holness & Williams

Release Date: 
Monday, May 11, 2015 - 18:00

Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Andrew Holness and Caretaker for East Rural St. Andrew, Senator Alexander Williams, speaking yesterday during a tour of fire threatened communities in the Caretaker's constituency, stated that the Fire Department needed water, better access to the communities and the right equipment, to thwart the recent fires in Mavis Bank and adjoining communities.

Mr. Holness said: “This kind of disaster shows up the lack of emergency services in Jamaica. The lack of water and difficult access made the situation worse, so greater attention needs to be paid to that”. Meanwhile, Caretaker for East Rural St. Andrew, Senator Alexander Williams added, “Things like this happen when you neglect a community. The Member of Parliament is silent and the people are not properly represented to have critical services available to them. It is important to recognize the efforts of the Fire Department as yesterday I saw firemen fighting a thirty feet flame with sticks and cloth. They don't have the tools they need and today, the fire is still not completely out”.

While expressing solidarity and providing assurance to affected residents, Mr. Holness said, “We are happy that no lives were lost, but we are distressed at the loss of your homes and the many farmers who have lost significantly. I am calling on the Government to respond speedily, especially to the housing needs of residents and the coffee farmers who will need assistance with re-planting”.

Mr. Williams added, “The Member of Parliament needs to step up and do something if he cares about the community. We may have to consider declaring the affected communities as a disaster area so that the necessary resources can be sent in”. In closing, Mr. Holness noted, “A JLP government that I lead will pay more attention to how the development of communities are planned, and we will be more proactive in ensuring that residents have access to a properly equipped and responsive emergency service”.

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