A unique community effort is getting wide support.
Following the Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama, Hon. Iram Lewis’ announcement on Friday morning regarding a massive clean-up campaign from Lover’s Beach to Hanna Hill, Eight Mile Rock, local churches and schools, the Ministry of Tourism, Environmental Health, Bahama Rock and Local Government have pledged their support in the initiative.
Cristian Palacious, Family Island Administrator, West Grand Bahama District noted that the event will indeed be a collaborative effort of unity as school involvement will also be key to ensuring that the youth within the community understand the importance and significance of maintaining their environment in a pristine condition.
“We also have the schools in the area on board because what we would like to do is sensitize the community of the importance of keeping their areas clean. One thing that we notice is that after the clean-up initiatives have happened, there is a void, in terms of education and bringing awareness, to keeping your areas clean. We are also looking into that and we also have Environmental Health on board, and we are also reaching out to the police, and the Ministry of Tourism, and Urban Renewal as well,” she said.
The clean-up campaign will take place this coming Saturday, February 16, beginning at 7:00 a.m.. Persons interested in participating are welcomed and encouraged to meet at one of three strategic locations, Harbour West Shopping Center, the basketball court at Hanna Hill and the eastern portion of Lover’s Beach.
“We are going to do a walkabout also that morning, in the community, identifying derelict vehicles, abandoned buildings, overgrown properties, among other things, basically taking one community, one neighborhood at a time. As administrator for the west I am privileged to have two members of parliament in my area. Mr Lewis’ area also included Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, the Mack Town area as well as Williams and Russell Towns which fall under my District as well Pakesia Parker-Edecombe is the MP in the west. We are also looking to take this initiative into those areas as well,” added the administrator.
Senator Jasmine Dareus, Deputy Director Urban Renewal added: “Today, we at Urban Renewal are excited to partner with the Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama for the ‘Unity in our Community’ clean-up initiative.
“I believe that a clean community is a healthy community and so while we are out, during the campaign, we would like to identify derelict vehicles, homes that may need demolishing and try our best to ensure that our community is healthy as best as we can.
“One of the key points here is that we are all working together and so, the unity in everyone coming together to impact and make sure the community is healthier, and cleaner is awesome. I would also like to commend the MP for Central Grand Bahama for this awesome initiative. We are happy to partner with you and all of the other agencies” said the senator.
Bertha McPhee-Duncanson, Chief Health Inspector, Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) also confirmed support for the campaign.
“As MP Lewis stated, the department is a regulatory agency. We will accompany the administrator and her team to do the walkabout and give out flyers. Maintaining is where we are going to come in, because once the area has been cleaned and once we can identify persons who would want to revert the clean environment back to its filthy state, we will take the full extent of the law that we have, to ensure that those persons are brought before the courts.
“We encourage persons in those districts not to indiscriminately dispose of your garbage. We encourage you to take your derelict vehicles to recycling depots and to maintain your premises from garbage accumulation. We try to work with the community, but, we have to enforce the law. We have been doing clean-up campaigns on many occasions, and, on many occasions, two days after we would have cleaned up, you go and visit those areas, they are either worse than they were or just as bad as they were. I am glad that MP Lewis, stated the importance of maintaining the area. So, a role of the DEHS will be to ensure that.
“We do not want members of the community spying on each other, but that is your community and if we do not see, someone has to tell us that ‘John Doe’ disposed of his vehicle elsewhere. We will keep your information in the strictest confidence, but we need to be responsible for our environment and ensuring that we maintain our environment,” acknowledged McPhee-Duncanson.
Lewis informed that another key partner in the initiative is the support of Sanitation Services, one which he noted is a longstanding partnership that has continued for many years with similar clean-up efforts throughout the Central Grand Bahama constituency.
Lou Carroll, General Manager Sanitation Services brought remarks also:
“Over the years, we have always participated in these types of events, to help out wherever we can. Our primary responsibility is Freeport, but, at the end of the day, Grand Bahama is our island and Freeport is just a part of that.
“Wherever we can participate to make a positive impact we do that. We do that by way of helping with proper disposal and waiving disposal fees. We also help out in collections from the community. Since the last hurricane we have participated in a clean-up in Pinder’s Point, portions of Eight Mile Rock and West End. Wherever we are asked to, we do it and so this event is no different. We throw our full support behind it and we will help out wherever we can,” expressed Carroll.