Capital Kingstown is expected to be the target of another concerted clean up effort as recently articulated by Minister of Urban Development, Julian Francis. And a senior employee of PH Veira Co. Ltd, Bryan Alexander is looking forward to the activity especially as clogged, dirty drains flow close to his workplace but thinks the government will have a hard task on its hands.
On the one hand he pointed out that the politicians would like to secure their votes, and on the other if action is taken, the politicians would be accused of preventing people from earning a dollar to take care of themselves and their families.
Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Monday, January 10 regarding the cleaning of a drain situated to the back of the Veira Building bordering the Little Tokyo bus terminal, Alexander said that: “We (P.H. Veira) pay someone to clean that drain regularly.”
He said despite their efforts to keep that drain clean, “persons use it to throw garbage and all kinds of stuff in it.”
“Take a look at what is happening around us. Too many stray dogs, vendors selling food in the open and how clean are those places? Look at the vendors on the sidewalks,” Alexander asked.
He noted that some vendors who now occupy the empty space in Little Tokyo to the back of the Veira Building received thousands of dollars from the government to move their structures from the seawall “but have returned and set up stalls.”
The long standing PH Veira employee said it pains him to see some of those vendors taking up parking spaces, thus creating problems for business places to take goods into their storerooms, their customers to walk safely on the sidewalks, and for the business to contribute towards beautifying Kingstown.
Alexander said he will like to see the Government move vendors into the spaces provided for them but believes hard, decisive action is needed if minister Francis is to succeed after four attempts to clean up Kingstown.
The problem with the drains was recently drawn to the attention of SEARCHLIGHT by persons seeking shelter from the rain who expressed disgust with the conditions of the city’s drains. One drain on Higginson Street, mere metres from the Public Health offices, received the brunt of their criticisms.
The drain showed the presence of grease, contained bits of food, and had evidence of lack of cleaning.
Senior Health Environmental Health Officer, Danville Toney told a SEARCHLIGHT reporter on Monday that, “I will have an officer to look at the places you have indicated and they will report back.”
He said a major problem that his department continues to face is that of business places continually failing to adhere to the protocols.
When asked how many food establishments in Kingstown have grease traps as required by law, Toney said while he did not have information on the specific number, there are some food establishments that have functional grease traps, and others whose traps are not functional.
He was also unable to say with accuracy how bad the situation is at present, but gave the undertaking that it would be looked into, adding, “We do take action against food establishments, but the public is not aware [and] the names of these establishments are not published. Maybe it is time we look at this.”
The environmental officer also used the opportunity to express concern about the overlapping responsibilities of the Public Health Department and the Kingstown Town Board in the cleaning of Kingstown.
Cuthbert Noel of the Kingstown Board agrees, but pointed out that the Kingstown Board is responsible for Little Tokyo and the Leeward Bus terminals, while the Public Health Department is responsible for cleaning the streets and drains.