Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Rats frustrate returning residents

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
Pileup of garbage on a property near the property of returning residents from the United Kingdom, Lloyd and Lucille McGann in Snow Hill, Portland.
Lucille McGann and grandson Everton Bernard talk about their frustration.
The damaged garbage skip near the McGanns’ property.
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Snow Hill, Portland:

An unbearable stench, which is further compounded by rat infestation, is causing havoc in the lives of two returning residents who are forced to endure the illegal dumping of garbage near their house in the community of Snow Hill, Portland.

The elderly couple, Lloyd and Lucille McGann, who returned from the United Kingdom about 15 years ago to build their house and resettle in the parish of their birth, are now frustrated and fed up as their place of comfort and relaxation has been transformed into a breeding ground for roaches, rats, and other varmints.

"This is unbearable and very frustrating," stated Lucille McGann. "My husband and I decided to return home and to retire in this beautiful parish, but we are baffled at what has unfolded as people have engaged in the dumping of garbage on to a parcel of land, which is in the proximity of our home. This has been going on for approximately two years now, and despite complaining to the councillor, the member of Parliament, and the mayor, nothing is done to correct this horrible situation."

According to Mrs McGann, their painful ordeal began in about 2015 when a car slammed into a garbage skip, which had been constructed near the main road just above their house. She recounted that at the time, a young man from the Snow Hill community offered to repair the garbage skip but was prevented from doing so by a man claiming to be the owner of that piece of property.

 

PAINFUL SIGHT

 

"Since then, rather than dumping their garbage in the skip, residents, whether they are walking by or driving, simply throw their waste unto the property, which is also used as a parking lot by members of the nearby Emmanuel Apostolic Church. This property is separated from ours by a perimeter fence and it is less than 12 feet from my house. It is a painful sight to look at as garbage is lying all over," she said.

And with the high pileup of garbage, which is evidently left uncollected by trucks assigned to the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the situation is further compounded by stray dogs, who sift through the waste, especially at nights, dragging the litter all over the property.

"This area is now known as Riverton dump," said Everton Bernard, a grandchild of the elderly couple.

"Rats are just about everywhere at night - in the bedrooms, kitchen, in the ceiling. At nights, the stench from the garbage is unbearable. My grandparents have spent thousands of dollars to have the area cleaned, only to find that in no time, the place is littered again with garbage."

 MP promises to have mess speedily cleaned up

Member of Parliament Dr Linvale Bloomfield has promised to speak to the authorities at the Portland Municipal Corporation to speedily address the frustrating situation being faced by returning residents Lloyd and Lucille McGann, whose property in Snow Hill is being affected by the illegal dumping of garbage.

"It should not have taken this long to clean up this mess," argued Bloomfield. "Nevertheless, I am personally going to see to it that the garbage skip is repaired and for the pileup of garbage to be removed with immediate effect. It is a rather sad thing when residents have lost their sense of civic pride. I know that it is a rather frustrating period for the couple, who have decided to return home and to retire in peace. I am giving them the assurance that this mess will be cleaned up in the next 24 hours."

Additionally, a state-of-the-art electrical generator, which the couple brought from the United Kingdom, was damaged by rats chewing through the wires.

As a result, Mr McGann pointed out that they have repeatedly spent a substantial amount of money to have the electrical wiring repaired by a specialist from Kingston.