Opposition Leader Mark Golding has blamed the clogging of drains for the flooding which resulted in a car being swept away with four members of a family in Westgate, Montego Bay, St James last Tuesday.
Golding claimed that the municipal corporations are not getting the special draining allocations to effectively undertake drain-cleaning exercises, “and so there’s a lot of problems with the overflow of water and the attendant damage and loss of life.
“This is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, and I am calling on the Government to really look at the situation in Montego Bay in relation to how the drainage system is not working and what needs to be done. I mean, yes, roads are wonderful, but we’ve been building excellent roads in Jamaica now for decades,” Golding remarked.
Sixty-eight-year-old Beryl Walters and three other family members were washed away when the motorcar in which they were travelling was swept away into the Barnett River by flood waters after heavy rainfall had lashed the second city.
The body of Walters’ 12-year-old granddaughter, Jenell Walters, who drowned after the vehicle washed away, was fished from the river by residents later on Tuesday.
The child’s grandfather, Berris Walters, and his 25-year-old daughter, Shannon Walters, were earlier saved from the river by rescuers.
The 68-year-old woman remains missing, despite search efforts by members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the marine police and residents, including fisher folks.
Golding, who visited the home of the 12-year-old high school student, also called on the Government to urgently address garbage collection generally.
“And part of the issue is to address the garbage collection crisis in the country, which is not limited to Montego Bay, but is everywhere. It feeds into blocking of sewers, the blocking of drains, the blocking of gullies and the flooding (is) attendant. So this is an urgent problem, and the Government must respond,” said Golding.