MORANT BAY, St Thomas — Now that St Thomas has received five new garbage trucks, Metropolitan Parks and Markets (MPM) is trying to recruit six crew members to join the team that keeps the parish clean.
“We have been seeking individuals to crew the trucks and we are still in the recruitment process but we are experiencing some challenges. The real problem is that the men are not bringing in their reference letters. They will not be successful if the reference letters are not submitted,” said MPM Waste Management Limited’s Acting Regional Operations Manager Nigel Gooden.
He was speaking at last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the St Thomas Municipal Corporation.
Applicants must submit two letters of reference, government-issued identification, tax registration and national insurance scheme numbers, as well as a bank account number.
Gooden was giving an update on MPM’s work in the parish over the past month. The last few monthly meetings have been riddled with complaints from councillors angry about a pile-up of garbage in the parish. Gordon said since the new trucks arrived, significant progress has been made.
“I am pleased to announce that on October 1 we were at 51 ½ loads of backlog and today we are at 25 loads which means that we are halfway through,” he revealed.
“It is a work in progress and we are working as best as possible to clear the backlog,” he added.
The five new trucks will be housed at the MPM’s office in St Thomas instead of travelling back and forth to Kingston daily. MPM’s plan, going forward, is to have one truck that will be assigned to the town centres where the garbage will be collected every morning. The other four vehicles will collect residential waste.
Pointing to the amount of waste generated by the parish’s main market, Mayor Michael Hue (Jamaica Labour Party, Port Morant Division) asked for pickup to be done there at least three times per week.
During the meeting, MPM’s Gooden expressed gratitude to residents of St Thomas who exercised patience when there was only one truck in operation. There are better days ahead, he promised.
“I am now seeing the garbage being collected on a weekly basis, which is good. I was using three drums to store garbage and now I am back to two,” said Councillor Hubert Williams (PNP, White Horses Division).
The parish’s medical officer for health, Dr D’Oyen Smith, who noted that uncollected solid waste contributes to the risk of dengue and other diseases such as leptospirosis, also expressed pleasure that the fleet of garbage trucks has grown.
“It is a big deal getting those extra trucks to clear the backlog of plastic containers and tyres that need to be collected. When collected they should be appropriately disposed of so that they are not encouraging breeding of mosquitoes,” he urged.
In the long-term, there are plans to add more trucks to the fleet. These will be stationed in St Thomas four days per week.