Photo: Claudia Gardner
Mayor of Montego Bay, His Worship, Councillor Homer Davis, says the flood mitigation programme, which was implemented by the St. James Municipal Corporation in the city following last November’s deluge, was the catalyst for prevention of a similar recurrence on March 9.
The Mayor, who is also Chairman of the Corporation, said heavy rainfall in the hills above Montego Bay sent water cascading towards the city centre, which overwhelmed the drainage system.
Nevertheless, he said, due to the flood mitigation programme which involves the regular deployment of a “drain cleaning crew” assigned specifically to the streets of Montego Bay, the water receded in rapid time.
“They (drain cleaners) go nowhere else (but Montego Bay). Because most of the drains in the city are some little culverts, they have to have these man-made shovels that they push under and scrape up (debris). I must point out that the North Gully was cleaned less than two weeks ago. There wasn’t any blockage,” Councillor Davis said.
He also attributed the situation where water rose in the vicinity of El Greco on Queens Drive as well as at Cornwall College to age-old geological challenges.
“There is a long-standing problem there (Cornwall), because there is no natural waterway up there. There are some sinkholes, which are located in the cemetery, but based on the body of water and the volume of rain that fell, the water could not move away fast enough in the sinkhole, and as a result of that, it rose to probably about five feet,” he pointed out.
“I went there Saturday morning and it had receded to about three or four feet… by Saturday evening to Sunday it was gone. But by virtue of it coming off the hill, it ripped up the asphalt. So as a result of that, some work has to be done there,” he added.
Mayor Davis reiterated that the Corporation is doing its part to undertake additional mitigation measures but that this will “take some time”.
He said a Motion was recently moved in the Corporation for the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development to undertake a “comprehensive study of drains that come into the harbour”, as there are some “fundamental problems in Montego Bay as it relates to drains”.
“We have done the Resolution and it has been sent off to the Ministry and they will probably send down their technical team to look at what is happening down here, because it just has to be dealt with,” Mayor Davis said