SDC to undertake census of Retirement Dump ahead of relocation exercise
Word from Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie is that the Social Development Commission (SDC) is readying itself to begin a census of the 22 families living at the Retirement Dump in St James to have them relocated.
The minister recently stated that land has been identified for relocation, which has become urgent following concerns that persons living on the site could be the cause of unauthorised fires at the dump.
McKenzie was speaking yesterday during the handover of three brand new garbage trucks to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) at its Half-Way-Tree Road, St Andrew, offices. Each of the trucks cost approximately $25 million. The three units will be distributed to the WPM Waste Management Limited, NEPM Waste Management Limited and MPM Waste Management Limited.
"The Retirement Dump has serious issues. We had a recent fire that caused a lot of dislocation. The SDC will be undertaking a census of the persons living on the dump. This census will help us determine the relocation of these persons living on the dump. Government is committed to removing those persons to ensure the dump is free from persons living there. We have already located an area, but we have to do the proper assessment," McKenzie said.
The minister cited improvements in certain areas of local garbage collection, but indicated that a lot of work is required to improve on the amount of solid waste collected, as well as the frequency of collection.
"We have seen some improvements, but we still are not where we want to be in terms of the volume and frequency of collection. That has a lot to do with resources," declared McKenzie. "I say to the men and women who will be working on these units to treat it as your child. Take care of it!"
Audley Gordon, executive director of NSWMA, stated that the trucks come at an appropriate time.
"We are producing garbage at a rate that is out of this world. You will clean an area at 1 o'clock and by 2 o'clock, you wonder where so much garbage came from in the same area," he said.
According to executive director of the SDC, Dr Dwayne Vernon, the census should begin by month end.
"Part of SDC's mandate is to carry out community research, on which people can plan. This will be no different. We will carry out a detailed survey to get an understanding as to what is happening in terms of the socio-economic status of the people living there, so we can prepare ourselves to address the issues," said Vernon.