Mandeville mayor lashes SPM for poor garbage collection

MAYOR of Mandeville and councillor for the Royal Flat Division Donovan Mitchell yesterday scolded Southern Parks and Markets (SPM) for what he termed inadequate collection of garbage in Manchester.

SPM is responsible for solid waste management in Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth.

When the monthly meeting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation started shortly after 10:00 am yesterday, Mitchell pointed out the absence of SPM representatives at the sittings of the corporation.

“We have to report to the taxpayers of this parish as it relates to the garbage collection. We can’t be taking the people’s business for granted. For months now there are areas in my division where they have not taken up garbage. Every time you call they have excuses,” said the mayor.

“They have collected millions of dollars from this corporation and the Manchester people to deal with their garbage and they are taking this thing as if they are operating their own private business. It cannot continue!” he added.

Mitchell also mentioned the lack of sanitation workers in the parish.

“There are areas in this parish where sweepers should have been assigned for months, even for years, I think. It cannot continue,” he stressed.

“We can’t be talking about COVID and cleaning up places and SPM, which is in charge of making sure the place is clean and tidy not doing what they have to do. It is nonsense,” he said.

Public cleansing manager at SPM Sheldon Smith, who arrived shortly after the mayor’s rant, said the agency has been having great challenges.

“We here at Solid Waste still continue to try our best in regard to waste collection and keeping our streets clean. I will accept that in recent times we have been having great challenges with regards to us being able to do the collections that we want,” Smith said.

“When it comes to the residential waste it has increased quite a bit since we have been having these lockdowns and people have not been out as they usually are. For example, in Clarendon… one area where a truck usually takes one truckload from in Mineral Heights, it took two-and-a-half loads,” he added.

“We have been having serious problems with residential waste. [It has] at least doubled since everybody has been at home,” he stressed.

He also pointed out that employees of SPM who are in the COVID vulnerability of high-risk age groups have not been able to work.

“We have quite a few workers at Solid Waste over 60 [including] our sanitation officers, drivers and sweepers. It is to be noted that they have to stay home with pay,” he said.

— Kasey Williams

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