CDEMA’s call to enforce building codes
Building codes?must be enforced as a matter of priority if the Caribbean is to be better prepared to respond to disasters and hazards.
That’s according to new executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, who held his first Press conference yesterday since the appointment on April 3.
Jackson, a former director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica, said work has to be done not only in applying and revising the codes, but legislating them.
“We have seen across the globe where success has taken place, there has been a mix of the code application and accountability of developers in this regard,” he said.
Speaking at CDEMA’s headquarters at the Manor Lodge Complex in Green Hill, earlier today, Jackson said: “What we should be doing is hastening our pace of moving from behind the eight ball. We are making some strides but we shouldn’t sit back and be casual about it. We should seek to advance on our movement.”
Jackson said that disasters were much more commonplace these days and it was important that Caribbean governments spare no efforts in investing in disaster risk reduction.“What we have been seeing internationally is that there can no longer be the game-playing, Russian roulette, where we say it might or it might not. Globally, and even within our region, . . . these type of hazards are far more apparent than there were maybe 50 to 60 years ago.
“There has been quite a bit of evidence that supports the view that there needs to be investment. In relation to the declining fiscal capacity of our governments. I suggest there maybe a strong correlation between our hazard profile, our seasonal impact and this very position [in which] we have found ourselves,” he said.
June 1 (Saturday), marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season and, according to Jackson, there will be above average activity with the likelihood of between 13 and 20 named storms of which seven could become hurricanes and three to six possibly becoming major hurricanes.
“These predictions are well above the seasonal averages, hence the message is clear. The extent to which we could be impacted will depend on the level of investment we put into preparing for and preventing as best as possible the negative consequences of hazards,” Jackson said.