Chief health inspector unhappy with Montego Bay vendors, despite training
Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer
Despite the hygiene training they received last year, Lennox Wallace, the chief health inspector for St James, is unhappy with some of the food vendors operating in Montego Bay, who he says are not adhering to safety standards, and he wants them out of the system.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Wallace said that he especially wants the St James Municipal Corporation to remove the vendors, who are plying their wares on sections of Gloucester Avenue, especially those in front of the popular Pelican Grill restaurant.
“What they (vendors) do is to throw their garbage on the rocks in front of Burger King, and then we have myriads of rats that engulf that general area,” said Wallace, in reference to vendors operating in proximity to Pelican Grill and the neighbouring Burger King outlet. “Last year it cost us J$6.5 million to carry out a rodent control programme in that area.
“My recommendation to the St James Municipal Corporation is that they reduce the number of persons that operate in front of the Pelican Grill, or that they should be completely removed from there,” added Wallace.
Wallace further noted that the health department was also observing the behaviour of vendors in other sections of the city, to include sections of Barnett Street and the downtown business district.
“We have some ‘hot spots’ that we started monitoring vigorously from Monday, October 29, and they include the Clock area on Barnett Street, the area by Courts in front of the Transport Centre, and the Union Street and St James Street intersection,” said Wallace. “We are vigorously monitoring those areas until December, and in January we will ensure that monitoring continues.”
Last August, the health department engaged several vendors in a hygiene and cleanliness training exercise to counter a rat infestation problem that was plaguing Montego Bay. The infestation was made worse by vendors and business operators unlawfully disposing of their garbage.
The education drive was held in conjunction with a rat-baiting exercise carried out on Gloucester Avenue, where several food vendors often sell items such as jerk chicken and soup in the evenings.