By 2030, Port-of-Spain will be a “resilient” city. This is the goal of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation which has partnered with the USAID and Habitat for Humanity.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Mayor Joel Martinez said, “We have done a lot of planning and Habitat for Humanity has come to the aid of the city of Port-of-Spain. When Habitat approached the city council, we were wondering how do you make Port-of-Spain a resilient city? We don’t have the resources, manpower, the framework to really do anything about it.”
Despite this, the mayor said the corporation took the decision to accept the challenge.
“Opportunities when you get it, you should look at it from a positive perspective and I would say that I am bit emotional about it because we have seen Port-of- Spain over the years—a city we all love dearly—we should be proud of our city and proud of where we have reached but like anyone else, there are underlying faults in the city,” he admitted.
“Every time rain falls in Maraval or Cascade, the Port-of-Spain city feels the pain of the rainfall, not the joy but pain because we are always cleaning up,” Martinez noted.
There are 10 essentials in the project.
Among the plans outlined in the project are, establish and codify the functioning of the City Task Force for Resilience, inventory and analysis of all city functions related to resilience, update the 2014 Disaster Management Policy Framework in keeping with Sendai Framework, comprehensive new Disaster Management Legislation and identification of the role of all state agencies in building resilience in City.
Others include reduce building insurance costs for the business sector, develop a pilot micro insurance project for low-income community and assessment of reducing risk in public buildings.
The groups hope to achieve these plans in the short to medium term.
Martinez assured that this project is not just a “talk shop” but an action plan that is going to happen.
“I know over the years Habitat for Humanity has put their money where their mouth is,” he affirmed.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Port-of-Spain South Keith Scotland said he expects that local government reform will greatly contribute towards the development of the city.
“With this legislative structure, I see that the task force role will be improved and become more efficient and therefore, I say this is an exciting time for this project to be implemented,” Scotland said.
He committed to working with the group on this initiative.
‘Even though I had Parliament today there was nothing that would stop me from coming to this event and supporting this,” Scotland added.