OCHO RIOS, St Ann — St Ann’s Chief Public Health Inspector Delroy Scott wants local authorities to make any changes needed to force private enterprises to provide toilets for their customers’ use.
His call comes against the backdrop of complaints he said he received about one woman peeing on herself after being refused access to a facility and another forced to relieve herself in a parking lot.
“One person called me to complain about a private entity at which she was doing business and they refuse her use [of] the sanitary convenience, claiming it was for staff only. She was forced to use her car door as a shield and urinate in the parking lot of the said business place. Another female also ended [up] wetting herself after waiting to be served at a financial institution, and this was after waiting for a decision to be made as to whether she should be allowed to use the bathroom,” said Scott.
He was speaking at Thursday’s monthly meeting of the parish’s municipal corporation.
“These are just some of the challenges being faced due to the inadequacy of public sanitary conveniences as well as the lack of legislative provision to ensure sanitary facilities in private entities which provide service to the public,” he added.
The health official is concerned that there is now only one functional public sanitary convenience in the parish.
“Presently, only the town of St Ann’s Bay has a fully operational and reliable public sanitary convenience. The town of Ocho Rios has no public sanitary convenience except for those provided at the transport centre. In Claremont, which has one of the most recently constructed conveniences, the facility has been taken out of operation. There are no public facilities in Discovery Bay and Runaway Bay, Moneague or Bamboo, all of which are hubs for route taxis but have no existing parks,” he pointed out.
“While public sanitary conveniences are available in Alexandria and Cave Valley, both are impacted by unavailability of water and the unavailability of these facilities is of great discomfort, especially for older persons, some of whom suffer from medical conditions which require that they urinate frequently,” he added.
Scott pointed out that the existing inadequacies may result in an unpleasant odour emanating from towns if residents routinely relieve themselves on the streets. He pointed to United Nations Development Goal 6.2 that aims for access to adequate and equitable sanitation for all by 2023 as a target Jamaica should aim to meet.
“By this time Jamaica should also have ambition to achieving developed country status, which means that we should also achieve the goal,” he said.
In agreeing with Scott, Councillor Ian Bell (People’s National Party, Beecher Town Division) said it is the municipal corporation’s responsibility to construct and maintain public sanitary conveniences.
“The council is duty bound to provide sanitary convenience, persons are walking and doing everything on the road and it is not right,” he argued.
Councillor Genevor Gordon-Bailey, (Jamaica Labour Party, Lime Hall Division) also asked that swift action be taken to address the issue.