Residents of San Antonio Village, Toledo District may get some reprieve in the coming weeks. Minister of Rural Development Oscar Requena is presently meeting with his peers and other officials to address the waste disposal that has been affecting the community for the past three to four years. Our Toledo Correspondent Paul Mahung has done multiple stories expressing the plight of the residents which Minister Requena spoke to our newsroom on today.
Hon. Oscar Requena: Minister of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labor and Local Government: “In the San Antonio Polyclinic area this is a practice that has been taking place for quite some time and even whilst in opposition the matter was brought to my attention. I visited the area, I brought it to the attention of the former minister as you rightfully said, I raised the matter in the house, I even joined the residents in show of solidarity in a small protest that they had at the polyclinic. Unfortunately the matter was not addressed, you know we now have a change of government and the matter continues to be of great concern but I must say that I am very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to have a very frank and candid discussion with the Honorable Minister of Health the Honorable Michel Chebat. I have also been in discussion with the Deputy Southern Regional Manager and during our discussions both the minister and the Deputy Regional Manager for the south have indicated that this matter is going to be addressed very soon.”
According to Minister Requena the source of the problem has to do with machinery failure at the Punta Gorda Hospital that has gone unattended for some years now. He added that currently they are looking at the possible and viable solutions.
Hon. Oscar Requena: Minister of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labor and Local Government: “The issue arises from the fact that the incinerator at the Punta Gorda Hospital has not been functioning for quite some time, I believe it’s well over two years that that has not been working. My understanding is that there is the need to identify the funds and basically get it up and running. From discussions I don’t know if what is currently there can be repaired or it means you know just building a new one but what I can say to you in my discussions with the minister he has assured me that the matter is of urgent priority, he understands the issues, he understands the concerns and he has assured me that that is a matter of priority, it is being looked at very urgently and it’s going to be addressed. In the interim as you rightfully said you may have noticed I took to social media to speak to our residents in San Antonio because I fully understand and appreciate the concerns that they have and as I said to them we are working very diligently to get that matter resolved hopefully very soon and in the interim we’re asking their kind cooperation and understanding. You may ask the question well why San Antonio and from discussions as I said with the health personnel my understanding is there is no other appropriate alternative site to dispose of that kind of waste material. For instance we were looking at whether it was possible to have disposed that in the sanitation site for Punta Gorda and what the Deputy Regional Health Manager has said to me is that it is not appropriate because it’s an area that is very close to water source and you run the risk of further contamination. So she said to me this is just an interim approach to deal with the problem.”