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Hit litterbugs in their pockets, says MoBay chamber boss

Published:Friday | May 29, 2015 | 5:00 AMChristopher Thomas

WESTERN BUREAU:

Gloria Henry, the president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is imploring the St James Parish Council to enforce strict penalties and fines on persons who improperly dispose of garbage in the western city to help build up revenue for its coffers.

"The council has to assume a no-nonsense, zero-tolerance stance against incidents of littering and pollution ... we have to ensure that stiff penalties are in place for those persons who are breaking the law," said Henry, who was the keynote speaker at Wednesday's launch of the parish council's Adopt-a-Verge Programme, which took place on the city's Hip Strip.

"It will clean up the city and it will bring revenues into the council to do far more than it is doing right now," added Henry.

The Adopt-a-Verge Programme, which is geared towards the beautification and maintenance of plants in selected public spaces in Montego Bay, is aimed at improving the general visual appearance of the city as well as the wider St James.

In her address, Henry cited the example of enforcement of fines for traffic offences, and also drew on the examples of Singapore and Dubai, where anti-littering penalties are strictly observed.

"A useful example is where we are coming from with traffic infringements ... . Don't you put on your seat belt as soon as you get in your car?" asked Henry.

"Because, if you don't, there's a fine ... we can create that same kind of no-tolerance to offenders who are littering the place, the same way we have done with our traffic fines."

Henry said: "The National Environmental Agency in Singapore issued 19,000 tickets for littering in 2013. They charge $2,000 for first-time convictions, $4,000 for second convictions, and $10,000 for third and subsequent convictions ... and in Dubai, just for spitting on the street, you would pay a fine of $500.

"The St James Parish Council has the responsibility and the opportunity to both enforce the law and to make money from litterbugs," noted Henry.

In his presentation, Councillor Glendon Harris, the chairman of the St James Parish Council and mayor of Montego Bay, urged residents to play their part in improving the city's appearance.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com