Mon | Jun 17, 2019

St James Health Dept blasts JRC over management of arcade

Published:Monday | April 22, 2019 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James Health Department will be writing to the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) this week about its management of the People’s Arcade in the capital, Montego Bay, which chief public health inspector Lennox Wallace has described as the worst-managed by the JRC.

While giving an update on the health department’s activities at the arcade, Wallace blasted the JRC for its handling of the facility’s issues, including sanitation and rat infestation.

“In my experience of dealing with agencies, the JRC is probably the worst I’ve ever dealt with because with the People’s Arcade, it’s like they blow hot and cold. We want to conduct a rodent-control programme there, and I believe the JRC should fully assist with funding for the programme in their facility that they manage,” Wallace complained.

“We’re going to be writing to them this week to ensure that they take another look at managing this property because it’s going to cause a serious indictment on St James and on Montego Bay, in particular. The arcade is less than half a mile from the city, and it is an eyesore.”

SQUATTERS

Wallace pointed to the ongoing issue of squatters living in the arcade, despite the facility being designated as a commercial area, as another reason for the JRC to step up its control of the property.

“The property is supposed to be a commercial property, and it’s practically 85 per cent residential. We’re saying this must change because no living quarters were built over there,” said Wallace.

“Speaking as one government agency to another, the JRC needs to do better,” he said.

Wallace’s comments echo those made by Montego Bay’s mayor, Homer Davis, in February when he called for the JRC to take responsibility for controlling the rodent population at the People’s Arcade.

In 2016, the JRC announced its intention to take charge of the arcade, around the same time when it was discovered that several shops in the facility has been converted into dwellings with illegal electricity and water connections. The dumping of household garbage and other waste in the nearby gully was also highlighted as a health concern for the western city.