Some residents living near the Arawak Cement Company at Checker Hall, St. Lucy have now decided to take 14 years of unresolved dust problems they blame on the plant, to various international organisations.
Spokesman Ranley Griffith told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, the choking dust had been adversely affecting five families in particular who reside at Malton Road. Griffith said he and his family had done everything legally possible, including holding discussions with management of the plant for more than 14 years, in order to get some relief. He said they had even asked the company to buy out the five properties in the area, wrote the Minister of the Environment, the MP for the Constituency, Denis Kellman and made representation to the Ombudsman, but all in vain.
He said his brother had also sued the government back in the 1970s or 1980s, but that case was dismissed by the High Court.
“Our only alternative now is to turn to the ISO which certificates the Arawak Cement Plant and the Inter-American Development Bank, to which they apply for funding and put our cases,” the St. Lucy resident disclosed. “This dust problem started in the 1990s when the plant went 24 hours. We feared that if they went 24 hours, they would not have time to carry out maintenance. No, we have been experiencing a series of problems with the dust coming from those towers. This is a daily occurrence. Some days are more than others. The only time we don’t get dust, is when the rain falls,” Griffith observed.
He told this newspaper the dust emissions were so thick and constant that all of the windows in his house were closed, except one. He stated that the cement left the bottom of he and his family’s feet black on walking through their house.
“There is a mango tree outside out house, and if you pick a leaf, the cement is caked on the leaves,” pointed out the spokesman for the residents. (EJ)