Beautiful Virgin Islands


‘I apologise to the people of the First District’- Hon Penn on landfill fires

‘I apologise to the people of the First District’- Hon Penn on landfill fires

After a handful of residents of the First District decided to turn up at the House of Assembly (HoA) this morning, April 17, 2023, to protest the frequent open burning at Pockwood Pond, Minister for Health and Social Development Hon Marlon A. Penn (R8) responded with an apology and a promise to resolve the issues promptly.

Landfill fires at Pockwood Pond can be seen almost daily; however, the smoke was particularly heavy last night and this morning, prompting residents to take action demanding an urgent address of the matter.

Landfill fires at Pockwood Pond can be seen almost daily; however, the smoke was particularly heavy last night and this morning, prompting residents to take action demanding an urgent address of the matter.



Next time ‘we are going to cause havoc’- Irate D1 resident

“We cannot nor will we accept what happened last night and this morning again. It’s going to be a lot more of us out here and we are going to cause havoc. This is our health we are talking about and it cannot continue,” a resident, who described the situation as “horrible”, told Hon Penn outside the House of Assembly this morning.

The same woman, who said she lives on Zion Hill, related that when she went outside of her home this morning she could not even see Carrot Bay due to the amount of smoke. “My throat is still sounding scratchy.”

‘Unfortunate what happened this weekend’- Hon Penn

Hon Penn said it was unfortunate what happened this weekend as a site coordinator was contracted to manage the process at the landfill.

“Over the weekend, what happened, someone went unauthorised, went up and dumped waste on the site, and the coordinator wasn’t there to advise where to dump, how to dump et cetera,” Hon Penn stated as the cause of the latest fire.

Control panel being purchased

The Health Minister also said the Government on Friday sent a cheque to get a control panel for the incinerator, which has been down since February 2021, due to a fire.

He also said Government has been working on a comprehensive plan to permanently fix the problem of garbage disposal and incineration.

“We are at the final stages for this and I will do whatever I can do within this intervening time to get it done, but when I go back to the House I’m going to work tirelessly…” Hon Penn stated, adding that it is not only a First District problem but one that affects the entire territory.

‘I apologise’- Hon Penn

“Again, I apologise to the people of the First District.”

Meanwhile, the residents demanded that the fire be put out as they were not prepared to go another day or night with the smoke; however, Hon Penn said he couldn’t say for sure what could be done, but assured them that a team was on the ground trying to mitigate as best as they can.

Hon Penn also shared with the residents that a new incineration plant has been sourced as a backup plant. “We are in the process of getting an additional plant for redundancy, so you will have two. You will have one there working, and one is going to be there for redundancy.”

Residents also said there should have been regular communication with the First District regarding the plans and progress for the incinerator.

Hon Penn said lots of updates were given in the HoA but agreed that there should have been direct communication with the affected residents.

Among the residents who turned up to protest at the HoA today were Virgin Islands Party (VIP) First District Candidate Dr Karl Dawson and Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) First District Candidate Sylvia C. Romney-Moses and PVIM At Large Candidate Shaina M. Smith-Archer.

Among the residents who turned up to protest at the HoA today were Virgin Islands Party (VIP) First District Candidate Dr Karl Dawson, centre, Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) First District Candidate Sylvia C. Romney-Moses, 3rd from right, and PVIM At Large Candidate Shaina M. Smith-Archer, 3rd from left.


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