MINISTER of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Luther Buchanan, has declared that the loss of life from buildings in unsuitable places will no longer be tolerated.
Buchanan, who has responsibility for disaster-risk reduction, said the time has come to put an end to unsustainable building practices.
In contributing to the Sectoral Debate in the House last week, Buchanan said the Government is moving apace to craft no-build zones and accompanying legislation.
"The time has come for us to have no-build zones mandated and enforced," the minister said.
"It is time to mainstream and strengthen disaster preparedness within communities and the national development agenda," he added.
The minister said one of the primary concerns for the Caribbean is the increasing frequency and severity of tropical storms and hurricanes, plus the threat posed by climate change.
"We are never more in danger than when we think ourselves most secure, nor in reality more secure than when we seem to be most in danger," Buchanan said.
Noting that between 2000 and 2010, Jamaica lost $14 billion as a result of climate-related disaster events, Buchanan said disaster risk reduction is multidimensional, with profound implications for the sustainable development of small island states like Jamaica.
"Our focus needs to be shifted in practice from response and relief to risk reduction," he said.
In the meantime, Buchanan said the Government is concerned about the management of chemicals in the country, to include the importation, storage, use and our stewardship regime programme.
"We cannot only consider the risk management of these chemicals, because some of them are extremely dangerous, but the related issue, of the country's preparedness for responding and handling chemical incidents is of concern," he said.
The minister noted that a Chemical Management Protocol was developed by a number of agencies and departments with support from the Pan American Health Organisation. He said the protocol, when adopted, will allow ODPEM improved management and coordination capacity.
"I am proposing that we provide the necessary policy and legislative support, to allow ODPEM, NEPA and other agencies to deal appropriately and decisively with these issues," Buchanan said.