Thu | Apr 18, 2019

Floods block productivity in Newport West

Published:Tuesday | October 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM
9th Avenue, Newport West flooded on October 24.
Flooding in Newport West.

For more than 40 years, the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) has been bringing attention to the lack of proper infrastructure in the Newport West area, which culminated last night in massive flooding in the area.

Ships were left stranded as shift workers were unable to enter the port area to work the night shift. Those workers who left late were unable to return for their early-morning shifts. In the worst-affected areas, staff members were unable to leave until almost midnight. This means that these ships will be delayed leaving the Port of Kingston, and the domino effect will mean that they will be further delayed as they try to meet their schedules with other ports. This is untenable! Our international partners are not happy.

The water entered most members' properties, flooding the car parks and flooding some vehicles. In other cases, businesses cannot be opened on October 24, as the water entered the building and 24hrs the staff were still mopping up water from the deluge the night before. It was a nightmare for those travelling on foot as buses and taxis were non-existent. We thank God that people were careful and there was no loss of life!

This is the seat of the logistics hub, so something must happen urgently if we are serious as a country.

Denise Lyn Fatt, the SAJ president, underscored the urgency of the situation in her remarks.

"We have spoken to mayors, we have spoken to councillors and MPs. We even fixed some of the problems ourselves, but this cannot continue. The port is where most of the food, critical supplies and goods come in. We are not going to sit around and get left out while attention is being placed on roads and infrastructure elsewhere. The situation in Newport West needs urgent attention! Something must be done now!"