28 Apr Phillips tours flood-ravaged Clarendon
Opposition Leader Peter Phillips said every effort must be made to hasten assistance to persons affected by recent heavy rains as they try to piece their lives and livelihood back together.
He was speaking during a tour of communities in Clarendon that experienced severe flooding and infrastructural damage.
Phillips pointed out that the flooding should not have happened as several hundred million dollars was allocated for bushing and drain cleaning. He said there is need for a thorough investigation as to what was actually done under the bushing programme.
He said the devastating impact on lives require urgent action.
“As representatives of the people, our role is to assist in times like this, not to use the suffering and misery of ordinary Jamaicans to score political points,“ Phillips said.
“Weather systems affect everyone regardless of what party you support. And help should come in the same way,” Phillips cautioned.
Several homes, farms and businesses were flooded as heavy rains pelted the island over the past two days.
It is estimated that multimillions of dollars in household items, goods, produce, equipment and livestock have also been lost in the deluge.
Marlene Peterson who operates Shashie British Bar in Nineteen Miles, in the parish, told the Opposition Leader that she lost some half a million dollar-worth of goods in the flood. She related how her barmaid had to swim to safety after water overturned two 40-foot metal containers nearby and flooded her bar.
Miss Peterson said roughly seven feet of water flooded her establishment.
Phillips assured the distraught bar owner that he is working in earnest towards having relief sent in the area.
In the meantime, the Phillips commended Junior Williams and Owen Taylor who had risked their lives to rescues two men who had been trapped in their home which was almost submerged under some ten feet of water. Williams and Taylor braved murky, rushing water to open a locked grill to get to the men who had sealed themselves in an attic.
The residents asked the Opposition Leader to use his influence to have the appropriate size drain constructed to prevent future disasters.
Phillips said that he has contacted a number of state agencies in an effort to speed up assistance to those affected.
The tour took Dr. Phillips and his team which included Peoples National Party General Secretary Julian Robinson and Members of Parliament Noel Arscott and Richard Azan, Caretaker for South East Clarendon Patricia Duncan Sutherland among others, through Nineteen Miles, Palmers Cross, Four Paths, Race Track, and Glenmuir Road.