MAYOR of Castries, Peterson Francis, spoke recently at the launch of the Clean City Campaign which, he said, is part of plans of a broader national campaign, aimed at making Castries one of the cleanest, greatest cities in the region by addressing the problem of inconsiderate littering.
The Mayor addressed a slew of issues currently plaguing the nation’s capital, from urinating, to defecating, littering and spitting in the streets, stating that the Clean City Campaign is merely a part of a larger cleaning plan that includes the creation of green spaces in the city, creation of new waste disposal bins and disease control through proper sanitation.
Mayor Francis said that the address was aimed at every stratum of society, and in that vein, he spoke specifically to the concerns of those who are more environmentally-conscious and concerned about the impacts of climate change.
The Mayor spoke on how this latest campaign will address the indiscriminate dumping of waste in drains, in rivers and in various places around the island, stating that these bad practices intensify the already serious risks posed by climate change.
His focus on climate change continued, as he expounded on the above, stating that, “All levels of society must address the country’s litter problems, as an important measure especially as it relates to climate change.”
With flooding being of particular concern to climate change proponents, the Mayor also stated that “indiscriminate dumping of waste-contaminated water sources creates a breeding ground for vector-borne diseases and also clogs drains, making the environment (more susceptible) to flooding.”
Mayor Francis hopes that the campaign will attract more persons to invest in Castries after stating that his Office “believes that improved environmental conditions…enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors to Castries, and cultivate national pride.”
The Mayor also warned offenders and would-be offenders of the legal ramifications of indiscriminate littering. He stated that while personal responsibility is critical, the legislation is there to be enforced and help curb the problem.
He went on to say that people who litter “will be charged according to the Litter Act, Chapter 6.05 Revised Laws of St. Lucia 2008 and the Criminal Code Chapter 3.01 Revised Laws of St. Lucia 2013”, and that the resulting punishments range from fines of EC$150 to EC$1500 and that “in some cases where the law dictates, up to six months in prison.”
The Mayor responded in the affirmative, when asked if there has been a crackdown on people who have been urinating in the streets: “Yes, we have. We have arrested and charged people already. That has been done.”
However, he did not stop there, going on to express his disappointment in the lack of following up on such crackdowns, saying that: “I’m seeing more people peeing all around the place than before.”
He also spoke about the comfort zones already in place in the city limits and his plans to place bold signs for people to see where they are.
“There are comfort zones which I implore you to make use of. They are located on High Street; Lower Jeremie Street near Customs; Jeremie Street Plaza; Faux a Chaux; Pavee; New Village; Leslie Land; Wilson’s Yard; Marchand near the bridge; Marchand Boulevard; Rose Hill; Castries Market; Vendors Arcade; Darling Road Plaza; and the Babonneau bus stop,” he said.
The Mayor was also asked about the problem of stray dogs and rats in the city. He stated at first that the CCC has been dealing with the stray dogs before going on to joke that: “You might have seen a few dogs in town now because it is the mating season. You’ll see dogs in gangs now coming down from all within the environment of Castries.”
About the rats, Mayor Francis confirmed plans to utilize a certain rat poison to help deal with the problem, stating, “We have been working with the Cubans to bring what we call the Bio Rat, which will be killing the rats.” He also stated that the poison will work in such a way that it will dry the rats up, leaving no bad smell.
“I wish to use this campaign as the starting point for Castries to become one of the cleanest and healthiest cities in the region,” Francis said, while stating his vision for St. Lucia’s capital.
He also spoke about incorporating the efforts of the Government, private sector, the public education sector and the over 200 sanitation workers within the city to help in the sustained realization of that vision of a clean Castries.