IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Woman still ‘kicking up dust’
SEVENTY-FOUR-year-old Ervina Gaskin is still agitating for relief from dust and what she believes to be noxious fumes emanating from the Block and Tile Products Company next door to her home at Chapel Road, St James.
Gaskin, who has lived on the same spot since 1970, said she has been unable to “rest in peace” during her sunset years because of cement dust and heavy machinery which she claimed is operated all through the day and sometimes late at night.
Since 1990, when the company resumed operations after being closed for two years, Gaskin said she had written numerous complaints to the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Environment as well as the Town Country Planning and she had even taken the company to court. However, she said she is still living five feet away from noise and dust pollution.
Ironically, Gaskin worked at the company for about six years when it was under the management of George Broomes, who has since passed away. She said the same noise and dust so affected him that he sought relief at her home.
“He was sick; he couldn’t breathe and he close it down,” she reported, adding that he also told her that he would build condominiums on the spot.
However, Gaskin expressed disappointment that family members had resumed the operations on an even wider and bigger scale.
“I beg them to give me a break,” she said, pointing to dust throughout her home, even buried in her hairbrush. Speaking above the noise of the machinery, she said she was taking prescribed medication for her respiratory illnesses.
When contacted by the WEEKEND NATION, managing director of the block making company, John Broomes, said they had done everything in their power to make life easier for Gaskin, including making an offer to purchase her home.
An elderly woman has been complaining about dust and noise emanating from the Block and Tile Products Co. Ltd at Chapel Gap, St James.
“Did she tell you that she is a director and she is also a shareholder here?” Broomes asked. He said that Gaskin’s relationship with the company was of a personal nature.
“From the time my father died everything is a problem for her. We do our best to keep the dust and noise down – we put in dust nets and sprinklers – but nothing is satisfactory for her,” he said.
Several years ago they also made an offer to purchase Gaskin’s home, but it was refused, he said.
“We are following court orders. My arrangement with the court which she agreed to is that our production would start at eight and finish by 4:30 p.m. and on weekends we will work at 7:30 a.m. and finish at one o’ clock.”
Gaskin produced correspondence which she received from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) on October 16, noting that her complaints had been investigated over the years and action taken when necessary.
“Please note that the various issues raised by the complainant have been investigated on multiple occasions in 1990, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2014. When infractions were found, the operator was duly notified and asked to comply.
“Following the most recent investigation in 2014, the operator was issued with a regulatory notice outlining various requirements with which they were instructed to comply.”
The letter went on to state that the EPD was in the process of issuing a number of notices and conducting the associated visits to ascertain compliance.
“If compliance is not obtained by the end of the process, the matter will be forwarded to the chief medical officer for necessary action,” the letter stated.