Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Letter of the Day | Use tragedy to inspire change

Published:Wednesday | January 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM


The fire that took the life of a senior citizen and injured several others in east Kingston recently should cause all authorities having jurisdiction over the built environment to review and enforce building codes. It should also cause those responsible for town planning to look at and implement ways to get the current layout of communities under control and in order.

Looking from overhead, one is struck by the random assembly of buildings and roads criss-crossing the country, revealing a lack of controls regarding the placement of buildings and roads. Unfortunately, this appears to be the norm across the island, as Jamaicans try to find ways to accommodate themselves and their families. I believe we must tackle this problem by taking up the task of planning the built environment to ensure the safety and welfare of the public during emergencies.

It would certainly be a step in the right direction if all municipalities undertook an immediate inventory of all buildings and spaces within their jurisdictions, and evaluated them for soundness of structure and safety of the occupants and public around them. The government has a responsibility to provide infrastructure and enforce guidelines relating to how and where buildings are constructed hopefully before the next catastrophic fire or natural disaster.

Hugh M. Dunbar