Mayor says Negril supermarket owner addressing issues

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Bertel Moore says the owners of a supermarket in the resort town of Negril are complying with an ultimatum to address alleged public health breaches.

“They got the supplier in. They have taken out the stuff (expired goods), they have done the electrical work and the only thing that is left to be done is for them to change (remove) that zinc area (another building that was built),” Mayor Moore told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

On Monday, the Observer reported that last Friday, the Chinese owner of the establishment was given until that day to have the breaches corrected.

The ultimatum was given following a tour of the supermarket on Friday, by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie and representatives from other agencies.

“They have 24 hours to remedy the situation. And, if it is not done within 24 hours, on Monday morning when we come back, we will close it,” a stern Mayor Moore said last week Friday.

The municipal corporation had alleged that the supermarket is housed in a derelict building that is filthy and has an infested storeroom, faulty electrical installation, as well as expired food products on shelves, to include infant formula which expired five months ago.

“From March! There are some things inside there (supermarket) that expired from the month of March, and now is August, and they are still on the shelves. And what beats me more than all, is the baby food,” stated Mayor Moore last week Friday.

“When someone come in, do not look on the expiry date, they go home and give it to their little babies, anything can happen to those children. They (supermarket operators) have to get rid of those things now,” the mayor added.

On Tuesday, Mayor Moore told the Observer that the items have been removed.

“They have called in the supplier for them to move out what to move out. Because, he (supermarket proprietor) said really, they are not the ones that check for expiration date. It is the supplier. As a matter of fact, he says they (supplier) are supposed to take them down one month before the expiration date,” said the mayor, who added, “he (proprietor) called in the supplier already, and they came in and moved them out.”

As it relates to the garbage in another building that was allegedly illegally constructed by the proprietor, the mayor said that a truck removed the refuse on Saturday. He added that the building will be removed by this weekend.

Friday afternoon's enforcement operation by the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Westmoreland Health Department, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, and the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation followed directives from Minister McKenzie, who had toured the town earlier that morning on an invitation from the Negril Chamber of Commerce.

“I have been there (supermarket) this morning and what I have seen is what I can only describe as disgraceful. There are so many violations in that establishment,” McKenzie said last week Friday.

“I have [also] given some instructions to the mayor that there are some encroachments that are taking place and that the necessary notices must be served for those encroachments to be removed, and if they are not removed by the owners, then the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation has the right, under the law, to remove those encroachments,” added McKenzie.

On Friday, the Negril Chamber of Commerce President Daniel Grizzle had stated that the aim was not only to write and complain, but to invite the minister to see first-hand some of the issues.

A director of the chamber, Sophia Grizzle Roumel, told the Observer yesterday that the chamber is pleased with the developments so far. She also expressed hope that similar enforcement actions will be carried out across the island.

“The town people of Negril, their comments have been that there are a lot of shops like that, not just in the area of Negril, but all over Jamaica. So that is a great concern as well,” Grizzle Roumel said.

“We are pleased that the place has been cleaned up, and we hope that we can get the health department all over the island to start going in and looking at these concerns, because it is a health issue and it could be very dangerous,” she continued.

— Anthony Lewis

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