Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis, has again expressed disappointment with the manner in which the National Solid Waste Management Authority, NSWMA, is operating in St. James.
Speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation on Thursday, September 13, 2018, Mayor Davis said complaints continue to flood Councillors about the non-collection of domestic solid waste, especially in the rural parts of the parish.
He added that while residents have been complaining, reports of non-collection of commercial garbage have been non-existent, which is a clear indication that the NSWMA has moved away from its core duties and has been placing it on making money.
Mayor Davis said “NSWMA needs to refocus on its core duties of collecting domestic waste and give private contractors the franchise to collect and remove commercial waste. The agency was established to collect and remove domestic solid waste and over the years it has shifted its focus to removing commercial waste simply because of the financial returns associated with that. I am however stating here and now that NSWMA in St. James must return to its core function and leave the commercial side of things to private contractors”.
He pointed out that while he understands that NSWMA needs to earn its keep, monies which it will lose by franchising out the collection of commercial garbage to private contractors can be realized through the collection of tipping fees at the landfill.
“I understand that the agency must earn and commercial garbage collection is a lucrative venture. However, funds which may be lost by giving up the commercial aspect can be recovered through the collection of tipping fees. I am adamant that the NSWMA must return to the collection and disposal of residential waste before it undertake any commercial activity”, a strident Mayor Davis said.
He said he will be convening a meeting between the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, the Executive Director of the NSWMA, Audley Gordon and Councillors of the St. James Municipal Corporation where the vexing issue of the agency’s operation in St. James will be discussed.
Mayor Davis said “I am very serious about getting the NSWMA to prioritize the collection and disposal of domestic waste in St. James. Focus on commercial activities by the agency can remain in other parishes, but the mode of operation in this parish must change. Our citizens pay taxes which help to underwrite the cost of solid waste disposal and they must start getting value for their money”.