Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Red Stripe donates $1m to enhance security at Riverton City Dump

Published:Saturday | August 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Ricardo Nuncio (left), Red Stripe managing director; and Noel daCosta (second left), chairman, Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation present a cheque to Desmond McKenzie (second right), minister of local government and community development; and Audley Gordon (right), executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). The occasion was the D&G Foundation presentation of $1 million to the NSWMA for the procurement of surveillance equipment at the Riverton City Landfill at the Red Stripe Hospitality Suite, Kingston, yesterday.

Red Stripe, the 'world's coolest beer', through its Desnoes and Geddes Foundation, has donated $1 million to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) for the acquisition of video surveillance equipment to help ramp up security operations at the Riverton City landfill, Jamaica's most active waste-disposal site.

Three weeks ago, as smoke from the latest fire at the dump choked much of Kingston and St Andrew, Ricardo Nuncio, Red Stripe's managing director, resolved that it was time to act.

"Anyone who works or lives in the immediate environs of the landfill was deeply affected, but beyond that, for nearly three days, all of Kingston was covered in smoke. This was a lesson in the meaning of community, and we knew we had to do something," Nuncio said.

He said that five shifts had to be cancelled at the world-famous brewery as a consequence of the fire, which also resulted in a total loss of 40,000 cases of its products.

"That impact is still being reviewed, and at the end, we can recover part of that with overtime, but overtime comes at a cost. We are still running the numbers, but it's definitely an impact that goes way beyond $25 million," Nuncio said.

 

CORPORATE JAMAICA TO PLAY ITS PART

 

Since 2011, there has been an average of one fire per year at the 69-hectare Riverton City landfill, resulting in major problems with productivity, health, and visibility in the Kingston Metropolitan Area.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie expressed his gratitude for the contribution and urged other corporate bodies to also play their part in assisting the Government.

"While it is the obligation of the Government, through the NSWMA, to operate these facilities, it is also the obligation of the people to ensure that these facilities are used for the sole purpose for which they were established," he said.

He said that successive governments over the years have had a dismal record in dealing with the two major landfills, Riverton City and Retirement in St James.

According to McKenzie, the practice of institutional indiscipline has plagued both landfills in recent years, pointing out that there were some 21 families living on the landfill in Retirement and that plans were well advanced to move them off the site.

"We are not a wicked Government, so we will never drive those people out of their home - because that is what they call it - but we are advancing arrangements to relocate them, and when we will have concluded those arrangements, we are not going to allow any other family to move on to the landfill in Retirement," he said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com