Wed | Jun 26, 2019

MoBay mayor gets tough on persons, businesses contributing to rat infestation

Published:Monday | May 20, 2019 | 12:12 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis.
Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis.

Western Bureau:

Peeved by the rat infestation in the Second City, Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis says he plans to get tough on persons and establishments which help to create and sustain the problem.

Speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, Davis, who is also chairman of the corporation, made it clear that he was not pleased with the problem. He said he would be using the law to enforce compliance among those who have been flouting the health regulations.

“Our disposal of garbage is not being done in the best way. Restaurants are disposing of their left-over food in a way that it helps to create the rat infestation,” said Davis, who has made numerous attempts to get the various restaurants to operate in accordance with the established health guidelines.

Davis said the irresponsible behaviour of entities will not go unpunished. He said, if necessary, legal action will be taken to force them to comply.

The mayor said food vendors, some of whom have been trained and authorised by the St James Health Department, are also major contributors to the problem. He said some vendors dump their waste into the city’s drainage system. The city’s drains have become a major breeding ground for rats. Many of the rodents can be observed emerging from the drains when there is heavy rainfall.

In recent months, Lennox Wallace, the chief public health inspector for St James, has criticised and warned several entities, including the Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC), the owners of The People’s Arcade, to do their part to keep the city clean.

“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,” said Wallace.

In February, police personnel operating out of the old Area One headquarters in Montego Bay were forced to vacate the building due to a fear of an outbreak of leptospirosis because of a rat infestation.