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We were prepared for mandatory evacuation in Port Royal - PM

Published:Tuesday | October 4, 2016 | 10:24 PM
Holness ... if Matthew had hit, the entire Port Royal would have been flooded and the main access point - the Palisadoes Road - would have been cut off.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government was prepared to order the mandatory evacuation of residents of Port Royal in Kingston if Jamaica was facing a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew.

Residents of Port Royal had refused to leave their homes despite numerous appeals to do so.

Holness says the impact of the hurricane to the coastal town would have been devastating with the potential for causalities had the storm hit.

According to him, if Matthew had hit, the entire Port Royal would have been flooded and the main access point - the Palisadoes Road - would have been cut off.

The Prime Minister said the government would not have sat idly and allowed such a serious threat to lives and property.

 

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Last year, Jamaica passed laws to allow for mandatory evacuation in the event of a disaster, however, the necessary regulations have not been promulgated.

Holness said emergency powers under a state of emergency would give the authorities the means to undertake mandatory evacuations.

This has never been done by the Government and so Holness said he would have expect push back from Jamaicans who he says are protective of their rights.

Holness says there needs to be greater public education on disasters and evacuations.

He was speaking in an interview on Nationwide Radio this morning.