Tue | Jun 28, 2022

Holness urges Kintyre to take stand against illegal dumping

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2022 | 12:06 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness and Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie look into an unfinished gully running behind homes on Harbour Drive in St Andrew, which has been a source of concern for residents as floodwaters threat
St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness and Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie look into an unfinished gully running behind homes on Harbour Drive in St Andrew, which has been a source of concern for residents as floodwaters threaten their properties during heavy rainfall.
Sections of the Hope River are heavily mined for sand and mounds of garbage are being dumped in the riverbed. The bridge in the background links Tavern, Kintyre, and Hope Flats.
Sections of the Hope River are heavily mined for sand and mounds of garbage are being dumped in the riverbed. The bridge in the background links Tavern, Kintyre, and Hope Flats.
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St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness has suggested that people are being paid to facilitate dumping of garbage and other waste in the Hope River, a situation which has caused concern for residents of Kintyre, who fear it places...

St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness has suggested that people are being paid to facilitate dumping of garbage and other waste in the Hope River, a situation which has caused concern for residents of Kintyre, who fear it places them at increased risk of flooding should there be heavy and persistent rainfall.

Speaking with The Gleaner on Thursday as she toured Harbour Drive and nearby areas in the Harbour View vicinity, where residents have also expressed flooding concerns, Holness said that she intervened after witnessing how illegal dumping was affecting residents of Bedward Gardens, where the Hope River also runs.

“I saw it happening at Bedward. NSWMA (National Solid Waste Management Authority) went in and cleaned and we spoke to persons at Bedward and I went back and check Bedward and it has actually stopped. I don’t see any new construction material in the Hope River behind Bedward,” she said.

Noting that a similar practice could now be affecting Kintyre, Holness appealed to persons who are being paid to turning a blind eye to unmarked trucks dumping waste in the river to desist and report the practice.

Residents have reported that debris from demolished buildings, out-of-use appliances, and wrecked motor vehicles are among items being dumped into the river’s path. They have expressed fear that this could change the original course of the river and potentially threaten houses along the riverbanks.

Holness said that she would go to meet with residents once again and remind them of their role in ensuring that the practice ends.

The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) councillor-caretaker in the division, Vivienne Brown-Bond, had also called on Holness to intervene to address a garbage-collection crisis in the area.

Holness told The Gleaner that she had personally aided in garbage collections in areas where it may be “a little out of the way that the trucks from [the NSWMA] aren’t able to manage,” she said of narrow roadways which could pose a challenge for the trucks to navigate.

“I am not aware of what [caretaker] Vivienne has said and I’ve read her statement as well and I am not aware of it. I am not aware of anything other than what you produced in your Gleaner article that I went and did my own checks on,” Holness added, referencing a report published by this newspaper earlier this week detailing the residents’ concerns.

Unaware of visits

Residents, however, have complained about not seeing their member of parliament in the neighbourhood for a long time as they pleaded for attention.

“That’s not true and I didn’t see that in your Gleaner article ... ,” Holness said, rejecting the claims while being interviewed on Thursday.” I was there yesterday (Wednesday), I was there Labour Day in Bedward, I was there in Christmas myself.”

Following the interview, The Gleaner ventured into Kintyre, but residents insisted they were unaware of her visits.

“Mi can deh yah so every day a sell and mi nuh see her pass yah so?” asked one resident, who sells goods beside the community centre.

Others closer to the bridge, where most of the concerns lie, also said they had not seen Holness in a long while.

“NSWMA, [who] I call regularly, [is] responsible for garbage collection. Not the member of parliament,” Holness said, noting that she had not received a single prior complaint from any resident, including the PNP caretaker, about the issue.

“However, the councillor, Kelvin Clarke, will call NSWMA,” Holness stated.

The member of parliament appealed to residents to use garbage disposal receptacles provided.

“Even where they (NSWMA) do not have the ability to take out their garbage every single day, all they have to do as a community [is to] come together and we will go down and do garbage collection,” she said.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com