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Money cannot be blamed for Riverton Fire - CaPRI

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 3:00 AMRichard Mitchell
Dr Damien King

Dr Damien King, co-executive director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), is dismissing claims that financial resources are not available to properly manage the Riverton City disposal site.

Responding to questions during a media briefing held yesterday at the University of the West Indies, King said that management is to be held responsible for the issues the dump currently faces.

Citing repeated examples over the years of money being allocated to combat recurring fires, King said this shows that resources are indeed available.

CaPRI estimates that the Government will have to spend more than $102 million to subdue the current fire.

This figure compares with the $78 million spent in 2014.

"It is a management problem, given that the resources could have been found and have been found. Why weren't those resources dedicated to a different activity, which is better management of the dump?" King argued.

He continued: "We literally have a management and governance problem."

In addition to the cost associated with outing the current fire, CaPRI estimates that approximately $136 million was lost because of the loss of production.

The outgoing executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Jennifer Edwards, has, since the fire, maintained that a lack of resources was responsible for the current state of Riverton's waste-shed.

She said her management of the dump was done to the best of her ability, given the resources allocated to the management of the largest disposal site in the country.

Lack of resources

"I believe the NSWMA has managed the facility as best as is possible, based on what we have there. What we have is a lack of resources to implement that management plan," Edwards said earlier this month.

CaPRI, through its research, made suggestions aimed at solving Jamaica's waste-management woes.

Proper security at the Riverton disposal site was the first suggestion. The research institute also advised that the Government promote waste minimisation through recycling and composting, and finally they recommended transforming the disposal site into a landfill.

The group, however, could not comment on the costs associated with its recommendations.