Even as the authorities are reporting that they have brought the fire at the Retirement Landfill in Montego Bay under control the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry is demanding a permanent fix to the recurring fire hazard.
The chamber has also described as ‘inadequate’ the apology given to the affected residents by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.
Winston Lawson, President of the Chamber, during a press conference held at the Chamber’s office yesterday demanded action that will not just be for an immediate fix but for a permanent one.
“In 2018, it cannot be beyond the authorities to properly manage a dump site, we believe it is within the capacity of the authorities” he remarked.
The landfill continues to burn a week after fire, suspected to be deliberately lit, started at the facility. It has been described as the worst situation at the landfill which has seen several fires in recent times.
The situation, which he describes as nothing short of a disaster, continues to affect residents and business interests in communities in near proximity to the landfill and as far away as Sandy Bay in Hanover with a serious blanket of smoke and smog. “We are insisting that this matter be corrected to give the communities breathable space to which they are entitled to” he demanded.
He also highlighted that due to the challenges that the business community are facing, there are now persons now considering to leave Montego Bay until the problem is satisfactorily addressed.
Joy Clarke, Vice President for the Chamber, also called the situation a disaster especially in a time when Montego Bay is on display with the major event that is Reggae Sumfest which is now on going. “This is not representative of what we want to show as a tourism product” she disclosed.
Mr. Lawson further called an apology coming from the Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie as inadequate and is indeed unacceptable.