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Vendors, cookshops feeding rat frenzy in MoBay

Published:Saturday | November 9, 2019 | 12:19 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Despite a protracted education drive to educate residents about the dangers of rat infestation, the St James Municipal Corporation is still getting reports that food vendors and restaurant operators are dumping food waste indiscriminately, especially in Montego Bay.

In an interview on Wednesday, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis bemoaned the unsanitary practices of vendors despite hygiene training workshops undertaken by the St James Health Department since 2017.

“The report I’m getting from the public health department is that there’s still an infestation, and that it’s mostly in the town centre,” said Davis. “It’s as a result of how restaurant operators and persons who sell food on the street dispose of their leftovers.”

According to Davis, irresponsible persons are still disposing of leftover food on street corners and in manholes, which become feeding site for the rodents.

“I’m appealing to restaurant operators and those who operate cookshops and pushcarts to containerise your leftovers. If you do that, these rodents won’t have anywhere to feast,” said Davis.

Lennox Wallace, the St James Health Department’s parish manager, said that a culture shift was crucial to promoting behavioural change among pedestrians and other commuters who toss leftovers from their vehicles.

“It’s not just the business persons, it’s everybody coming on board,” said Wallace.

In August 2017, the health department engaged vendors in a training exercise to counter Montego Bay’s perpetual rat problem. That education drive was done in conjunction with a rat-baiting campaign along Gloucester Avenue, a notorious hunting ground for the pests.