Tue | Aug 22, 2017

KSAC moves to clean up act

Published:Friday | December 18, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Debris cleared from drains on Princess Street in Kingston more than two weeks ago is left on the sidewalk to be washed back in when it rains.

The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has fired delinquent workers whom it blamed for the failure to remove debris cleaned from drains along major roadways in the Corporate Area, in keeping with contractual arrangements.

"We take responsibility. The local authority has responsibility to clean drains, and when these drains are cleaned, the debris is to be carted away within a specific time frame," Town Clerk Robert Hill said during a press conference yesterday.

"The system does not always work as it ought to, and we have taken steps [to address that]. We have changed the work crews; we have fired some because of lack of responsibility and accountability."

Responding to a question from The Gleaner, Hill gave the assurance that such a situation was not likely to be repeated. He said as part of its recruitment effort going into 2016, the KSAC would be evaluating potential employees on their sensitivity to certain environmental issues.

"We are putting in measures to deal with those (workers) and they will bear the brunt of [the] responsibility if they are shirking it. So we won't have a question like that coming up again."

However, following the press conference at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development's Hagley Park Road office in St Andrew, a Gleaner team yesterday afternoon came across a drain at the intersection of Harbour and Princess streets in downtown Kingston - a prime example of the situation Hill has vowed to clean up.

 

RISK OF BEING WASHED IN

 

With the drain having been cleared some weeks ago, all the silt and other debris which was taken out was still on the sidewalk and at risk of being washed back in, in the event of rain.

In the meantime, Colonel Daniel Pryce, interim director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, used the occasion to assure the public that anticipated increases in solid waste usually generated during the Yuletide season had been factored into its operational plans for the holidays.

"Two days ago, we started a ramped-up approach - and this will continue until January 3 ... . We have been lucky to have obtained the budgetary support and so you will see as much as 265 more compactors in the system, throughout the island, to deal with this increase in waste," he disclosed.

Noel Arscott, minister of local government and community development, warned that increased fines for infractions of the Anti-Litter Act would be announced soon. He said this was in recognition of the reality that the paltry penalties were not a deterrent.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com