KINGSTON, Jamaica - Opposition Spokesman for Housing, Water and the Environment Dr Horace Chang is calling on the government to “move with urgency” in ridding the country of what he says is a serious rat infestation problem.
According to Dr Chang many of the urban areas in Jamaica are being overrun by rats “because of waste, overgrowth, inadequate drain cleaning and the poor management of derelict buildings and other places that act as habitat for vermin.”
Dr Chang’s call comes against the background of a Jamaica Observer story on the deplorable condition on the Pedro Cays, an important source of the country's supply of fish. He says the growing rat infestation is a sign of the governments neglect in rehabilitating and maintaining the country’s infrastructure.
“The Minister of Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Health must move quickly to deal with what is clearly a public health crisis as the rat infestation could lead to increases in the incidence of Leptospirosis and the transmission of other deadly diseases,” said Dr Chang.
Acknowledging the government’s current shortage of funds Dr Chang however insisted that “priority must be given to the protection of the wellbeing of the population and the Environment and a policy framework must be established to secure the environment.”