Sunday 15 December, 2019

Banks must help to influence proper development practices

Curtis Martin (centre), Managing Director of JN Bank and Lenworth Kelly (right), President of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica, listen keenly to a point being made by Dr Barbara Carby, Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre at The University of the West Indies, during a recent public forum.

Curtis Martin (centre), Managing Director of JN Bank and Lenworth Kelly (right), President of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica, listen keenly to a point being made by Dr Barbara Carby, Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre at The University of the West Indies, during a recent public forum.

A senior banker has recommended that banks and other financial institutions must use their influence to encourage proper planning and development practices among Jamaicans.  

The recommendation came from Curtis Martin, managing director of JN Bank, during his recent address at a public forum entitled: “Hurricane Resistant Construction for Householders” held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge at The University of the West Indies, Mona.

“As financiers of many different developments, there are some latitudes which financial institutions generally have, which they can leverage to influence proper planning and development; and also, influence positive behaviours among householders, as negative behaviours do affect our bottom line,” he stated. 

Martin pointed out that as providers of mortgages and development financing, financial institutions could be more vigilant about where and how dwellings are erected.

“We must also become advocates for the adherence to building codes and parish development plans, where they exist; and to develop and implement those plans where there are none,” he suggested.

Martin said those elements will prevent persons from developing housing in areas where they expose themselves to high risks.

The JN Bank Executive further noted that, beyond playing a more active role in the development and planning process, there are also opportunities for financial institutions to be more creative in the financial products they offer.

“There are also opportunities for us to examine other products that we offer, so that they are more integrative and wholesome in addressing some of the obstacles which prevent householders from preparing for hurricanes and other natural events,” he stated.

Martin added that JN Bank was not only concerned about helping householders to strengthen the structure of their dwellings; but more importantly, to become fully conscious of disasters; learn to be climate smart; and be prepared to mitigate the effects of stronger and more aggressive climatic events on their properties; their lives, communities; and consequently on the Jamaican economy.

The public forum was held as part of efforts by the UWI Disaster Risk Reduction Centre to provide Jamaicans with the know-how to construct more climate-resilient homes, especially light of an increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes throughout the region.

The event featured presentations from architects, engineers and other stakeholders in the construction sector.

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