St. John’s — Several officers attached to the Parham Police Station were forced off the job yesterday, suffering with symptoms such as vomiting, diahorrea, and blackouts, allegedly caused by exposure to a pungent sewage-like odour.
The station was closed early yesterday, residents said, but later in the day, police spokesman Senior Sergeant William Holder said operations were shifted from the main building to another area on the compound.
“They had to shift to the gallery near the barracks in order to serve the public. An official from CBH went to investigate and we’ve learned that (another) person also fell ill yesterday. They still have to find the source of the problem,” he said.
The stench, one of the affected officers said, began plaguing them in recent weeks.
It was initially believed to be coming from a clogged sewage tank, but after authorities emptied it twice – the latest being Saturday – the foul smell still persisted.
“Three of the officers are out. More officers were sick, had blackouts and headaches. Masks aren’t blocking the smell because it is so strong and no kind of sweet smelling spray is helping,” a source reported.
The station serves residents in Parham, Pares, Gunthropes and Pigotts.
Apart from the stench, the building is reportedly also in need of repair.
Police Welfare Association Chairman, Lendon Isaacs, said health and safety are chief among the important areas to be addressed at all stations across Antigua & Barbuda.
He said he visited the Parham Station on Saturday, but only spent “a short time there” because the odour was extremely “overbearing”.
“It is one of the areas the PWA is willing to sit and discuss with the Commissioner of Police Vere Browne and other authorities, soonest, to see how we could work together to bring solutions,” Isaacs said. (Antigua Observer)