Sun | May 26, 2019

‘Not a red cent’ for Portmore dengue fight

Published:Saturday | February 9, 2019 | 1:07 AM

Portmore has received no money from the Ministry of Health to tackle mosquito-breeding sites in the municipality amid a sharp rise in suspected dengue fever cases, Mayor Leon Thomas has said.

“We have not received a red cent from the ministry and have to be using funds from the council’s coffers to deal with the crisis,” said Thomas. “Our funds are now depleted, so we are badly in need of assistance to continue our drive to destroy the breeding sites.”

But Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton dismissed that assertion.

In an interview with The Gleaner last night, Tufton said that $600 million has been allocated nationally to tackle mosquito-breeding sites, $100 million of which is slated for disbursement shortly to municipal corporations islandwide.

Much of the $600 million had been channelled through a number of state agencies, for recruitment of personnel, the outsourcing of fogging where needed, and to other arms such as the National Works Agency to do clean-ups.

Thomas, People’s National Party councillors, and other municipal officials boycotted the Sunshine City leg of a dengue-awareness tour organised by the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, dubbing it a political event.

ABSENT PNP COLLEAGUES

The PNP municipal hierarchy was noticeably absent from the HEART College of Construction Services town hall on dengue, the mosquito-borne disease that has killed at least five people since late last year.

Thomas said that he and his colleagues skipped the function because of a social-media post that called for Jamaica Labour Party supporters to attend.

“After seeing this post, we took the decision not to attend in light of what happened to one of our own in Portland recently,” Thomas stated.

“The dengue fever outbreak affects everyone,” he said.

Thomas urged the minister of health to sit down with him and other municipal officials, public-health workers, and community leaders to share ideas.

But Tufton last night denied any involvement in posting any politically tribal message.

St Catherine suspected dengue fever cases since the start of the year have increased by 38 per cent to 534.

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