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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says immediate steps will be taken to secure the Retirement Landfill in St. James from any further illegal activity, following two fires at the municipal waste disposal site over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
  • Minister Arscott made the comment following a tour of the facility on Saturday, (January 2).
  • The Local Government Minister informed that as of Monday (January 4), the number of persons (unauthorised users) visiting the site will be restricted.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says immediate steps will be taken to secure the Retirement Landfill in St. James from any further illegal activity, following two fires at the municipal waste disposal site over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Minister Arscott made the comment following a tour of the facility on Saturday, (January 2).

He was accompanied on the tour by Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris; Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams; and Councillor for the Granville Division, Michael Troupe, as well as representatives from the police, National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Western Parks and Markets (WPM) and the St. James Fire Department.

The Local Government Minister informed that as of Monday (January 4), the number of persons (unauthorised users) visiting the site will be restricted.

“I am going to….reduce the number of (unauthorised users), and to gradually put in place tighter security management of this landfill,” Mr. Arscott said.

Among the other measures being considered, are the erection of perimeter fencing, the use of the waste at the site to generate energy, as well as the possible privatisation of the operation.

He also stated that he was anxious for the smoke nuisance at the facility to be brought to an end, due to its effect on the approximately six communities near the landfill.

The fire, which is believed to be the work of arsonist(s), was started over the Christmas holidays and was put out by the St. James Fire Department, but was relit on New Year’s Eve night.

Minister Arscott urged well-thinking citizens to assist the police, while also stating, “I want to appeal to (the perpetrators) to cease and desist from these activities because in the end, no one benefits.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Harris expressed concern at the health hazard the smoke was posing for residents in the adjacent communities of Pitfour, Granville, Bogue Village and Bogue Heights and to a lesser extent, Westgreen, West Green Meadows and Catherine Hall.

“This is a matter of health…and as of now, whenever there is a fire here, we are going to be calling in the police and the army to ensure that no one accesses (the area)….and in the future preventative measures will be in place,” the Parish Council Chairman stated.

Mayor Harris also stated that the St. James Parish Council will be ensuring the immediate installation of emergency water supply, to facilitate rapid response, as well as the installation of closed-circuit cameras.

Superintendent in Charge of the St. James Fire Department, Dolphin Doeman, reported that his team of 10 firefighters from the Montego Bay Fire Station has brought the fire under control and was carrying out cooling-down operations at the time of the tour.

Superintendent Doeman said that his team, with the assistance of NSWMA and Western Parks and Markets, was seeking to bring the smoke nuisance to a halt over the weekend.