PORT OF SPAIN — The rodents in Port-of-Spain have not only grown in size but have also become more aggressive.
This is the view of Mayor Louis Lee Sing. Last Monday, firefighters at the Fire Service Headquarters, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, refused to work because of what they claimed was a rat infestation of their dormitory.
Lee Sing said many warnings had been issued to the headquarters because of the inefficient way that garbage disposal has been handled. He believed that this has contributed immensely to the growing rat population in the area.
Lee Sing added that the Ministry of Health was responsible for the Fire Service Headquarters and not the city corporation. He said he was in a meeting to discuss ways to try and lessen the rat population in Port-of-Spain.
Variety to choose from
He said the rats were no longer eating the poison that was put out for them because they now had a variety of local food to choose from like fried chicken, roti and doubles. It is because of this he is making serious moves to have all food vendors removed from the streets of the city.
One of the first steps towards this effort is the opening of a food court in St. James
for food vendors on October 31. He said that by November 7 there would be no food vendors on the streets of St. James and he is hoping to enforce the same type of initiative in Port-of-Spain.
Vice president of the T&T Fire Services Association (Second Division) Ashton Cunningham said firefighters saw rats in the male dormitory and became concerned about their health. He said this fear may have stemmed from the fact that years ago a trainee firefighter died, after succumbing to leptospirosis during training at the Chaguaramas Fire Station.
Cunningham said the male firefighters refused to go back to the dormitory until it had been properly sanitised and it was also the place used to store firefighting uniforms. He said after a meeting with Fire Service administration it was decided that a private company should come in and clean the area.
Back to work
This happened last Tuesday and he said firefighters have resumed their normal duties with the promise that there will be a constant monitoring of the health and safety conditions of the fire station. He added the entire problem of rats living on the fire service compound has been an issue for almost 20 years and he feels it may have to do with the nearby port.
When T&T Guardian attempted to contact the Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dana Roach we were told by a secretary, who did not wish to be named, that he was unavailable and all she was authorised to say was a private company was called in to sanitise the male dormitory. (Guardian)