Garbage collection boost for Trelawny
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has responded to the call for help from councillors at the Trelawny Parish Council to address garbage collection and street light issues in some communities in the western parish.
With regard to the garbage situation, the minister, who is currently on an islandwide tour of parish councils, told the councillors that they would benefit from a new arrangement in which 30 private garbage trucks were recently hired into the system to deal with the severe pile-up of garbage in some of these communities.
"Following a meeting with the NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority), the commitment is for us to maintain these private trucks for as long as possible to assist in clearing the backlog of garbage not just in Trelawny, but right across the island," McKenzie explained to the councillors.
According to McKenzie, the initiative, which he described as a short-term strategy, has been fruitful over the past weeks in significantly reducing the trash pile-up in various sections of the island. It is against that background that he says the Government plans to keep the trucks on board.
The Gleaner understands that the previous government, which demitted office earlier this year, had made provisions in the 2014-2015 Estimates of Expenditure for $250 million to purchase new trucks; however, there were technical problems with the documentation, which affected the plans.
According to McKenzie, the process was reactivated three months ago, and in addition, another $250 million was added by the current Government to acquire a second set of trucks. The first set of garbage trucks is currently being manufactured but no delivery date has been given.
"I am going to ask for the understanding and patience of the country as we put together the process of bringing in new trucks, but while we wait, we will do everything that is possible to ensure that we are in a position to collect garbage on a timely basis."
With regard to the concerns about inadequate street lights in some communities, McKenzie said his ministry is currently in dialogue with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) with a view to having the situation addressed.
"We have intensified our discussions with JPS on the question of street lights as well as the installation and repairs. Also, we are working to ensure that JPS, as quickly as possible, starts to replace the existing street lights with energy-saving LED lights."
McKenzie said that on an average, the Government paid in excess of $270 million each month to JPS for street lighting and so the energy-saving bulbs would be a good way to cut back on that cost.
"That is why we are running in arrears because it is difficult to keep up," said McKenzie in explaining why the Government owed JPS money for street lighting.