Dump workers will continue to earn

July 25, 2017
Minister of Local Government, Desmond McKenzie.
A truck carries garbage into the Retirement Dump.
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People who earn their living by rummaging through the Retirement Dump in St James have been assured that they will not be displaced when the facility is divested.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said that the Government will be putting measures in place to assist all sorters at government landfills across the island in regularising their operations.

"They are not going to be displaced because remember now, this is an honest livelihood that they are making, and it has to be embodied into whatever recommendations that are going to be made by Government," McKenzie said.

The minister made the comments during a press briefing in Negril last Thursday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the appointment of an enterprise team to identify a preferred waste-management provider for the divestment of the Riverton Landfill. While no divestment plan has been announced for Retirement, the Government has said that it would consider using the dump as a waste-to-energy site, as well as the possible privatisation of the operation. McKenzie is, however, firm that the people who earn from the dump will not be left behind.

"It was one of the commitments that the prime minister gave when we visited Riverton City, where we engaged a number of the persons ... . The prime minister is cognisant of that, and in the assessment and even in the limited discussions that I have had with the World Bank expert, who is here in Jamaica, he recognises that that is a part of it," McKenzie said.

Last March, sorters at Retirement expressed concern that they might be displaced if the facility is divested.

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