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IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Risky dumping

Maria Bradshaw

IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Risky dumping

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RESIDENTS of Mount Standfast, St James, are worried about the effects of the compacting of waste in a local “quarry”.

Brothers Winfield and Owen Moore complained that for the past two months trucks have been back and forth in the neighbourhood, dumping garbage on an elevated portion of land. What is of greatest concern to them is that some of the discarded material has fallen over a slope into what they say is a watercourse.

“This is where the water comes and settles and seeps out,” said Winfield, a lifelong resident of the area. “Cardboard boxes, pallets, galvanise, trees, even an old house being dumped out here. We getting a lot of mosquitoes and more flies than normal.”

He reported that he called the Maurice Byer Polyclinic repeatedly and was assured that an inspector had visited the site.

“I was told that the man was warned but all like now the trucks still dumping stuff.”

His brother said he actually visited the polyclinic on two occasions and vented about the situation. He said that he was informed that the resident was warned.

“I have lived in this area for 60 years,” Owen said. “All the water that comes down ends up right in the same area that they are filling in now. I am concerned that if he fills it in where is the water going to go? There will be a backup of water and we are going to end up being flooded out. Me and my sister are the closest and let me emphasise that my sister is blind.”

However, Harry Butcher, operator of the Doorless Bar along Porters, St James, vehemently denied that the dumping was going to lead to blockage of a watercourse.

“When the rain come in, here use to fill with water in that hole,” he said pointing to an area on the land behind his bar. “I use to have to call in the Ministry of Health to put chemical in the water because you can’t pull it off. It’s not a gully. It’s an old quarry.”

Pointing to loads of garbage on the land, Butcher said he was not taking household garbage, only “rough stuff”.

He also denied that the area below his business was a watercourse.

“All here gine cap off because it will be a lawn. I am trying to put it into a park. We have stuff to level it off so we will have the land levelled to build a park. When the inspectors from Maurice Byer come here they told me it is okay once I don’t take no household garbage,’ he said.

Asked if he owned the land, Butcher, who has lived in the area for five years, said “not yet”.

“All this is to make a road so that if I have a function here and rain fall all yuh could get in,” he reiterated, adding that he was also preparing for Q In Community, the popular outdoor social event, which he said his bar was hosting next April.

Former head of Government’s Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, who lives in the area, said she too was concerned about the activity taking place on the land.

“I heard all the tractors and I went up there and I saw this Bobcat pushing this stuff over. I said to myself it look like a watercourse. I was concerned about where the water was emptying.”

Recalling the devastating flood at Weston, St James, which took the life of calypsonian Carew, Thomas said she didn’t want another situation like that to occur. She has been trying to contact ministry officials to confirm if there was a “bonafide watercourse in the area”.

When contacted, a man who described himself as the principal environmental officer at the Maurice Byer Polyclinic said he was not authorised to speak to the media and directed us to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Tennyson Springer. However, we were informed that Springer was on leave.

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