MoBay 'rat war' coming - health dept looks to rid city of rodents
Come August 21, the St James Health Department will ask jerk chicken vendors along Gloucester Avenue to vacate the area to facilitate its war against rats.
In an interview with THE WESTERN STAR late last week, Lennox Wallace, the chief public health inspector for the St James Health Department, said the jerk chicken vendors will have no choice but to vacate the area completely to facilitate a major rat-baiting exercise.
Within recent months, downtown Montego Bay, including the so-called Hip Strip, has become a happy hunting ground for rats, especially when it rains.
It is not unusual to see women running down the street, screaming with a rat or two running in hot pursuit.
According to Wallace, the impending exercise, which is part of his department's ongoing bid to end the rat infestation problem in St James, would go hand in hand with a planned training session on cleanliness techniques, which he wants jerk chicken vendors to buy into.
"That training session is slated to start in two weeks," said Wallace. "We are going to give the St James Municipal Corporation some notice to contact the vendors, since the corporation has overall responsibility for the vendors."
Wallace said the health department has already met with the vendors to alert them about the rat-baiting and seminars.
"They also know that there can be no activity there during that time. They also know that going forward, they will have to be properly trained and certified to operate in the area," he said.
He added: "We are also looking at a different fix (solution) as far as the jerk pans are concerned, to affix wash-hand facilities on them, or something."
Wallace said the health department would also be conducting an education drive targeting vendors who conduct business along Kent Avenue, another problematic area.
When the campaign initially started in June, chicken and soup vendors in and around Sam Sharpe Square were the first to be targeted.