WPM denies allegation of sabotage in Mount Salem's garbage collection


WPM denies allegation of sabotage in Mount Salem's garbage collection

Observer writer

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Western Parks and Markets (WPM) Regional Operations Manager Garnet Edmondson has demanded an apology from People's National Party (PNP's) councillor for the Mount Salem Division, Kerry Thomas, over alleged sabotage in the collection of solid waste in the division.

Speaking at the St James Municipal Corporation's monthly general meeting recently, Edmondson said Councillor Thomas recently made an allegation that his organisation has been sabotaging the division. He explained that WPM, the regional arm of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), has reached out to Councillor Thomas in writing, requesting a meeting to “resolve whatever matter that there is” .

“The staff and management of WPM have tried our best to build and maintain a relationship with all stakeholders, and this includes our councillors. We have responded to the allegation and invited Councillor Thomas to meet with us to resolve this. We have also asked for an apology because, to date, our records have shown no indication of sabotage,” said Edmondson.

Edmondson further argued that the NSWMA operates under no political duress, “so this allegation is in no way representing what the organisation stands for”.

“We try to maintain an equal support for all divisions and constituencies; it can be shown throughout our work over the last four years. We are not only in Councillor Lynch's area, but we are also in Councillor Troupe's, Councillor Thomas's and all the other councillors' areas,” he said.

“We will not rest until we get this meeting with Councillor Thomas, with the mayor of Montego Bay present. He [Thomas] must stand here in the council and apologise,” Edmondson stressed.

Edmondson noted that the WPM team collects waste in the Mount Salem division on a daily basis, despite Thomas's allegation of the opposite. He said the organisation has also placed a garbage skip on Vernon Drive in the division.

“The skip on Vernon Drive is cleaned twice per day and the cost associated with that is $10,000, so that would come to $70,000 per week,” he said.

“We also went ahead and placed two mini compactors in the Mount Salem Division because we know that the roads are very small, so the bigger units cannot traverse it. We then realised that [only one was needed] so we placed one in Councillor Troupe's division to clean the Cartagena Lane and other lanes in the division. So there is currently only one in Councillor Thomas's division, which cleans the lanes twice per week,” Edmondson explained.

“When we total our efforts in the Mount Salem Division we are in the region of $946,000 to clean Mount Salem each month. Therefore, I am adamant that Councillor Thomas meets with us and let us resolve this matter, because we will not rest until Councillor Thomas speaks the truth about our operation in Mount Salem.”

Councillor Thomas, who was also in attendance at the meeting, argued that while the NSWMA has done work in the Mount Salem Division, he does not believe they have been efficient in their efforts to collect the waste in that area.

“NSWMA has a responsibility for all the divisions in St James and it is their duty to use the taxpayers' dollars to clean the garbage from the communities, and if I represent the constituents of the division and we are having a garbage collection problem, then I am going to come to this council meeting and report it,” said Thomas.

“Yes, you have spent money in the Mount Salem Division. My question is, was it spent efficiently? Was it spent wisely? What systems could you have put in place to make it more efficient? What systems have you put in place to ensure that taxpayers are getting a bang for their buck?” Thomas questioned.

“My position still stands — I need better service from the NSWMA in the Mount Salem Division because, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, I think my division is being sabotaged,” he said.

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