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St. James PC to unleash litter wardens next month

Published:Tuesday | June 23, 2015 | 6:00 AMBarrington Flemming

The impunity with which litter bugs now operate in Montego Bay should come to an abrupt end on Wednesday, July 1, when the St James Parish Council unveils four litter wardens, two with the power to arrest to patrol the streets of the western city.

In announcing the bold new initiative, Montego Bay's mayor Councillor Glendon Harris said the deployment of the anti-litter wardens would beef up the efforts of the municipal police to maintain law and order in the parish, while ensuring that a culture of cleanliness is adopted, especially in Montego Bay, the nation's tourist capital.

"We have made the commitment to pay the four anti-litter wardens, who will function as environmental enforcers over the next two years," said Harris. "This will beef up enforcement right across the parish - from those that throw garbage out of their 'Benz', 'Bimmers' and 'Ladas' to those who dump at the nearest light pole."

Harris, who was speaking at the recent sitting of the monthly meeting of the St James Parish Council, said the crackdown is not confined to the illicit dumping of garbage, but also targets persons who wantonly urinate in public spaces across the parish.

The mayor further explained that with two of the anti-litter wardens having the power of arrest, they will supplement the operations of the municipal police. He added that the work of the anti-litter wardens would also complement that of Western Parks and Markets Waste Management Limited (WPMWML), which has the responsibility for waste disposal and management.

perennial problem

Julian Robinson, senior public cleansing inspector at WPMWML, in his recent monthly report to the council, said that while he welcomed the litter wardens, he was concerned about the illicit street vending, which is a perennial problem in Montego Bay.

"The rampant vending activities continue to have a negative impact on our operations," said Robinson. "We note and applaud the efforts of the St James Parish Council to rid the streets of these vendors, however, the entrance of the market (Charles Gordon) continues to be problematic, especially on Sundays, where our efforts are being stymied by vendors, who are allowed to sell freely on Market Circle, Bevin Avenue, Fustic Road, and Barnett Street."

WPMWML, which operates under the aegis of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, has a fleet of four compactors, which is supplemented by 11 contracted vehicles. The number falls short of the 22 trucks, which are required by the agency to operate at full capacity.

Robinson also called for the assistance of the parish council to deal with illegal dump sites, which are prevalent in the communities of Barrett Town, Quebec Avenue, Salt Spring, Anchovy, Bogue, and Kirkpatrick.