$4-m temporary fix for filthy Falmouth

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Stressing that the long-standing sewage concerns in Falmouth cannot be solved overnight, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie on Friday announced that $4 million will be allocated to the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) to temporarily address the issue.

“There is an agreement between the National Water Commission (NWC) and the municipal corporation for continuous cleaning of the system. The Ministry of Local Government, therefore, is going to be providing some $4 million to the municipal corporation to assist in the cleaning … for hiring the … truck to do the cleaning that is required to prevent flooding from taking place within the town of Falmouth with sewage,” McKenzie stated at the official opening of the Falmouth Homeless Shelter in Trelawny.

“A number of steps have been taken to try to alleviate the problems on a short-term basis and I want to say that this is not a problem that can be solved overnight, it is going to take some time,” he added.

The minister noted that the problem has worsened as the town develops but promised that it will eventually be solved.

“Falmouth is a glorious place. It is one of our oldest and most prestigious towns in Jamaica and it speaks a lot to the history of Jamaica. The Government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness will ensure that we do as best as we can to preserve the quality of Falmouth,” McKenzie vowed.

During a recent tour of the historic town, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett commented on the unmistakable stench of human waste wafting in the air.

“You can’t have Jamaicans moving around in the town trying to peddle their wares, trying to make a living with a toxic environment. And I could barely, you know, to use a Jamaican phrase, stand mi breath, you know that term? Yes, I could barely stand my breath today. That’s untenable!” Bartlett said.

“The sewage problem in Falmouth has to be dealt with and I am going to drive that force as much as we can to make sure that it is dealt with. Today it was almost intolerable,” Bartlett said during a tour of the town, part of an islandwide effort by his ministry and its public bodies to boost its destination assurance programme.

When contacted for a response, the town’s mayor and chairman of the TMC, Councillor C Junior Gager, said efforts were ongoing to address the issue. He, however, outlined challenges of sourcing the funding needed for one solution that was estimated to cost $100 million.

On Friday, McKenzie explained that he recently invited his colleague in the Cabinet, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Senator Matthew Samuda to a meeting with the NWC and the TMC “to have discussions on the question of the sewage situation in the town of Falmouth”.

“The meeting was a fruitful one and arising out of that a committee was set up between the Ministry of Local Government, the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to look at issues, and they have been meeting for a number of weeks,” McKenzie stated.

Regarding the shelter, McKenzie said it will be able to accommodate 20 people.

The facility, which was constructed at a cost of $25 million, is located beside the drop-in centre which was opened in July 2020.