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Helicopter problem stalls Gov't Pedro Cays visit

Thursday, September 20, 2012 | 3:40 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A planned visit by a high-level government delegation to the Pedro Cays failed to get off the ground yesterday.

According to agriculture Minister Roger Clarke, members of the touring party, which included Local Government Minister Noel Arscott, were to be airlifted to the island by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) personnel.

Clarke said the plan was however shelved on the advice of the JDF, as there was a problem with the helicopter.

The agriculture minister said that a number of discussions on improving conditions on the island, known for fishing, were raised ahead of yesterday's planned trip.

“ An interim arrangement was made both what we do now and how we operate on a sustainable basis…. the first thing is to have a census on the number of people on the cays and determine who has to stay and who has to leave based on the capacity …”

The Jamaica Observer recently highlighted the substandard living condition on the Pedro Cays, including the absence of adequate sanitary facilities and a huge pile-up of garbage.

Clarke said an assessment is being done on how much it would cost to remove the garbage and that his Ministry was ready to assist with the bill.

The agriculture minister added that he is hoping to identify a new date for the visit to the Pedro Cays by next week.

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