Rats on The City block (STREET BEAT)NCC workers in Independence Square said they often came across holes in The City where they thought the rats lived. (Nigel Browne)
Fri, June 08, 2012 - 12:02 AM
RATS ARE SEEN in any major city, and Bridgetown is no exception.
However, the number of the pests can be directly attributed to the unhealthy practices of those upon whom the rats depend for food – humans.
The City and its rodent residents are the focus of this week’s Street Beat.
One of the worst areas appears to be the site on which the statue of National Hero Errol Barrow stands, Independence Square.
“I was taking out the garbage when one almost knocked me down,” said one National Conservation Commission (NCC) worker, who declined identification.
She was among a group of NCC workers, who said they often came across holes in the ground which they said the rats called home.
The workers said people had adopted the nasty habit of leaving their food boxes on the benches and throwing garbage on the ground as they took it for granted the workers would clean up the mess.
They said they cleaned twice a day and they always have garbage to clean each time.
The group identified the main culprits as vagrants and schoolchildren.
Another worker, who operates around the bathroom, said the Ministry of Health regularly baited the area, so she had only seen two rats in the two months she had been posted to Independence Square.
Along Reed Street, residents pointed to two main areas they thought were breeding grounds for vermin, namely a garage and a warehouse.
However, the owner of the garage said his place was not the problem, that it was the practices of the same residents who were complaining.
“They throw food in the street all the time,” he said. “Even if I were to completely clear my garage, there will still be rats because that is something they do on a daily basis. I don’t have rat droppings in my place, but I don’t live here, so they can afford to blame me. I will put down bait if it is a concern.”
He said the rats were “cruel” in the area and way too big for a domestic cat to handle as they were both almost the same size.
Another man, who gave his name as “Carl”, said he kept his surroundings clean but could not vouch for anyone else.
“I’s a clean man; I clean all in front my place, but a lot of others don’t keep the place clean. Even so, I only see one or two rats about the place,” he said.
As Street Beat was talking to “Carl”, another man came out and dumped rice from a pot on the street. Within moments, a flock of pigeons came to the scene but any leftovers would almost certainly attract the attention of the rats.
Another area checked was the Princess Alice Terminal where there are several food stalls.
Helen Williams she did not have a problem with rats, but did spot them on evenings.
“I just see them on the outside; they sometimes come up from a pipe in the ground. The inspectors put down bait but people need to be more clean,” she said.
Another vendor, Betty White, said she no longer saw any of the rodents since the Ministry of Health intensified its baiting programme.
In a telephone interview, president of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs, Alister Alexander said rats were no longer a problem in the BARVEN market in Cheapside.
“The health people have done a good job with baiting, so we don’t see any. They also held a meeting with us to discuss proper health and disposal methods. Before this, we used to see them from time to time, but not anymore,” he said.
Alexander said vagrants were a problem as they scattered garbage, but the vendors ensured they disposed of it at the end of the day.
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