MONTEGO BAY, St James — A veteran councillor’s declaration that his division is being terrorised by rats triggered a stir at last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation.
According to Councillor Michael Troupe (People’s National Party, Granville Division), rats have been travelling by route taxi from Montego Bay to Granville.
“Since Christmas it is very difficult to get a taxi to go to Granville. I notice that all the rats from Montego Bay are coming to Granville and they are taking taxis,” Troupe said, to the displeasure of his colleague councillors.
Troupe made the comments shortly after St James’ Chief Public Health Inspector Sherika Lewis delivered her monthly report to the meeting.
“Are there any plans in the near future for the public health [team] to eradicate the large rats in the city of Montego Bay so they can stop coming to Granville?” Troupe asked.
Montego Bay mayor, Councillor Leeroy Williams interjected, suggesting to Troupe that the source of the rodent infestation is in Granville.
“Councillor Troupe, it seems as if there is a problem in your division,” Mayor Williams said.
However, Troupe maintained that the issue of rat infestation is an actual concern in the city of Montego Bay.
“There is a problem in Montego Bay too,” he said. “Go to the parade at nine o’clock this evening and you will see. Right in the parade where you can buy chicken, if you are not careful the rat will take your chicken from you.”
In her response to Troupe, Lewis stated that plans are afoot to roll out a rodent eradication programme.
“Rodent control should be a multi-agency approach. I know that… there is some discussion regarding a programme for the parish, to include the city of Montego Bay. That is something that is in place and will be rolled out soon,” said the chief public health inspector.
Councillor Charles Sinclair (Jamaica Labour Party, Montego Bay North East Division) told Councillor Troupe to play his part by leading the fight against the rodent infestation in his division.
“I don’t think that rats are migratory in nature,” Sinclair said with annoyance. “As a leader of the community in Granville, one would anticipate that there is some amount of leadership [expected in] that, if persons are improperly disposing of or containerising [their garbage]… then you have to go out there and lead the process, call in the relevant persons to remove or indicate to [residents] what you expect of them.”
Sinclair further told Troupe to “stop the frivolous commentary”.
However, Troupe refused to back down.
“Most of the empty houses are occupied by rats in Granville. Dem rent house up deh,” Troupe quipped.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer after the meeting, Troupe said he was made aware of an incident involving a schoolgirl who almost suffered serious injury after a rat jumped on her as she attempted to disembark a taxi in his division.