MONTEGO BAY, St James — Three out of the six public toilets in the city of Montego Bay do not meet public health standards, a problem health officials are trying to have fixed.
In July, complaints sparked an inspection of the sanitary convenience at Fort Street. Out of use for some time, the building has no doors and is being overrun by shrubbery.
An inspection set off alarm bells inside the health department.
"We would have cited it based on complaints. We have seen that it must be done immediately and we have contacted the parish council and they are making preparations to improve conditions at these facilities," acting parish manager for the St James Health Department, Lennox Wallace, told the Jamaica Observer.
However, when contacted chief executive officer (CEO) of the St James Municipal Corporation Gerald Lee painted a different picture.
"I know that the Fort Street one has not been working for some time. As to whether or not that one will be recommissioned into a sanitary convenience is something that we would have to determine," he said.
There are two other public toilets that Wallace said they are also working with the municipal corporation to improve. One is at Clock on upper Barnett Street and the other is in the bus park on lower Barnett Street, near the fire station.
However, Lee told the Observer that as far as he is aware the facility at Clock is being operated by a private entity which also leased the nearby car park for private use.
He was quick to point out, however, that the public has access to a recently built facility in the parish library's car park on Harbour Street along with another one at the Civic Centre in Sam Sharpe Square.
Both of these facilities are in the same section of the city, about a five-minute walk away from each other.
Also among the city's public toilets that people can feel safe using is the one in the car park near the Type V health centre on St Clavers Avenue. This is about five minutes' walk from the Civic Centre.
With the facilities at the Clock and bus park in need of work to improve their service, that section of the city is not adequately covered.
Wallace spoke of the importance of having public toilets available as this will minimise the incidents of individuals relieving themselves on the streets.
"We want to improve the sanitary facilities so that persons can actually use them," he said.