Layou residents call for removal of pigpen from neighbourhood
April 17, 2015
Layou residents call for removal of pigpen from neighbourhood

The neighbours of Layou resident Rachael Caine are calling on her to remove her pigpen from the neighbourhood.

Caine’s neighbour, Esla Smith, paid a visit to SEARCHLIGHT last week to complain about the pigpen that she claimed was giving off an unpleasant smell {{more}}in the residential area.

According to Smith, whose house is built in front of Caine’s house on sloping land, when her neighbour washes down her pigpen, the water travels underground and drains onto her property. This, she said, causes a lot of flies around her home.

The Layou resident noted that she has repeatedly gone to the Public Health Department (PHD) to lodge complaints; however, Caine continues to rear the animals.

“I speak to she already and tell she the water coming down on me. She telling me the pigpen ain’t in my yard. Early mornings and late evening, it stinking up the place. I always have to keep my windows closed. Other people in the neighbourhood went to public health already,” Smith told SEARCHLIGHT.

Another neighbour, Ellie Parsons, opined that a pigpen in a residential area could make the residents sick. She also alleged that one child had gotten the hand, foot and mouth disease as a result of the dirty environment.

“She can’t have a pig- pen in a community where people living there,” she said. “The people in health; we go there several times and we report this matter to them…. They (PHD) always coming here and when they gone, they not doing anything. I want to know if these people is working and getting tax- payers’ money to work for people rights and they not getting their rights. It is not good enough.”

Other neighbours also spoke to SEARCHLIGHT and shared similar views that the pen should not be in a residential area, especially one with young children.

Caine’s pigpen is a small structure that is located in her backyard. When SEARCHLIGHT visited Caine’s home, she refused a request to have photos of her pigpen taken. However, five adult pigs were observed in the pen.

The woman, who lives in the Betromy area, expressed her frustration with the situation and stated that sanitary inspectors have visited her on at least 10 occasions since she built her pen and have found no fault with her set-up.

“…No water running down on them. We have two soakaways,” she said, one of which she claimed was built on instructions from a sanitary inspector.

While pointing towards a large pipe, Caine told SEARCHLIGHT that the pen was directly connected to one of the soakaways.

The pig farmer further stated that she built her pigpen in 2011 and the pigs have only bred once. She also indicated that three of the five pigs currently in her possession have already been bought and that she is simply waiting for the owner to come and get them.

“You going to report somebody, talk the truth. Every time they send people, they catch them in lies,” the upset woman said.

“Not to say we have a pig farm where we breeding all the time. One time we breed the pig and that’s it. No more never breed.”

Caine said in her opinion, the stench in the neighbourhood is not coming from her pigpen, but from another resident’s sewerage that has been leaking.

Searchlight made several attempts to reach chief environmental health officer Neri James for comment about Caine’s pig farm, but we were unsucessful.

However, in an interview two months ago, James told SEARCHLIGHT that the rearing of pigs in residential areas is strictly prohibited in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The chief environmental health officer spoke with us then, following complaints by villagers in North Union about a pig farm which was being operated in the area by farmer Mark Smart.

“In no way do we accept persons to rear pigs in residental areas. One of the reasons for this is that pigs produce large amounts of waste.”

James explained that Smart had violated the Environmental Health Service Act, number 14 of 1991.

Section 11, subsection (1) of the Act states: “No person shall create or allow to exist on or emanate from premises which he owns or occupies, conditions which are insanitary or constitute a nuisance or are conducive to the breeding or harbouring of rodents, insects, pests, termites or other vermin.”

James told SEARCHLIGHT that in the past two years, two pig farming businesses, operated by two prominent persons in the Windward area, had been closed down by the PHD, following a breach of the Environmental Health Service Act.