SDC manager decries 'dirty' Falmouth
"Falmouth is dirty and stink and a lot of persons no longer come into the town because of it."
That's the view put forward by Paula Barrett, Social Development Commission parish manager for Trelawny, as she addressed a recent Gleaner forum on job creation, investment and growth at Glistening Waters Hotel in the parish.
"Persons who have bought properties outside of Falmouth, they do not want to be a part of Falmouth because there is no parking. In terms of garbage collection, the place is really bad," Barrett added.
That perception of the parish capital is not limited to locals, she said.
"That is what they have said in some of the surveys that come out from the tourists ... . What you find in Falmouth on a daily basis is that garbage is all over the place," she continued.
However, the sanitation issue is not restricted to the poor collection of solid waste, but extends to the lack of a central sewage system in a town marketed as a major tourism destination.
There is a proposal to resolve the poor garbage collection by establishing a transfer station - a building or processing site for the temporary depositing of waste.
Larger vessels would then transport the garbage to the final disposal site, such as a dump or landfill.
The garbage trucks now travel all the way to Montego Bay in the neighbouring parish to offload their cargo, a time-consuming and very costly operation. The transfer station would allow for a quicker turnaround time, facilitating more garbage pickup trips per day.
Trelawny Custos Paul Muschette said he had identified a potential site to set up the transfer station, but the National Solid Waste Management Authority has still not responded to his proposal.
Falmouth Mayor Garth Wilkinson, however, took issue with the characterisation of his town as dirty and stink, arguing that the situation was being addressed and pointing to gains.
"When I came into office, ... if a cruise ship came into the port of Falmouth, immediately there was a stench because all the underground water used to rise and there was a stench in the town of Falmouth. If you go through Falmouth, you don't see nuh garbage. We have a drainage problem, [but] we don't have a stink problem as we used to.
"We have difficulties, we have challenges, but the town of Falmouth and the parish of Trelawny is the fastest growing parish in the Caribbean and we can't sit here and nuh give credit to where we are coming from and where we have reached," he added.