Sinclair urges vigilance against arson ‘terrorists’
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Western Parks and Markets (WPM), the regional arm of National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), is being urged to carefully monitor activities at Retirement landfill in St James as the year comes to a close.
Councillor Charles Sinclair (Jamaica Labour Party, Montego Bay North Western Division) made the appeal during last Thursday’s meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation in the wake of repeated fires, over the years, that have been deliberately lit at the landfill during the holidays.
“We’re going into Christmas season and there is always a certain time of the year where some endeavour to raise distress in communities,” Sinclair said.
“Persons are going to be at home and wanting to enjoy their environment without having to be breathing the smoke from the fire and to be so disturbed,” he stated.
On December 17 last year, firefighters and other personnel were called in to address a blaze at the landfill that ended up lasting just over two weeks before it was fully contained.
Leading up to and around the same period in previous years, there have been reports of major fires at the landfill which have lasted for days.
Smoke from these fires typically blankets sections of Montego Bay and also travels over the hills, mainly in an easterly direction, impacting a number of communities in its path.
“I was told — and I do believe the source of my information — that up to recently there was an attempt by unauthorised persons to light a fire at the Retirement landfill where even fuel was used,” Sinclair told the meeting.
“It is my opinion that anybody who attempts to light the Retirement Dump and to create distress and anxiety in the society at this time when we are going to have thousands of persons coming here, returning Jamaicans, visiting Jamaicans from overseas… anybody that attempts to light it for mischief or for political reasons is something that we must oppose vehemently,” he declared.
He described those behind the fires as terrorists.
“They are terrorising thousands of law-abiding people in society,” he said.
Members of the WPM team who were in attendance gave an assurance that they would be working to ensure that the landfill does not fall prey to arson attacks during the holidays. Sinclair urged them to explore various strategies that can be employed to address the issue.
“Anything that the NSWMA must do, including inviting external security — whether it is JDF (Jamaica Defence Force) or JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) — but anybody that goes onto the Retirement dump with the intention of creating that type of mischief, then they must be dealt with in the harshest manner,” he suggested.
“Probably they may have to put up some new signs and invite the relevant agencies to give an eye to prevent against that type of mischief,” he recommended.