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Pockwood Pond fires causing persons ‘to come down with cancer’- Romney-Moses

Pockwood Pond fires causing persons ‘to come down with cancer’- Romney-Moses

The longstanding issues of garbage disposal and landfill fires at Pockwood Pond were highlighted during the First District’s Political Debate held at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Youth Centre in Carrot Bay last evening, April 18, 2023, with candidates stating the issue was amongst the top three national concerns they would address in the House of Assembly (HoA) once elected.

During a question and answer segment, a First District resident referred to these issues as major emergency health concerns for the common folk and decried the lack of action by elected officials.

Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) Candidate Sylvia C. Romney-Moses had earlier listed open burning at the incinerator among her top 3 concerns and priorities.

The recent upsurge in issues surrounding garbage disposal and landfill fires at Pockwood Pond was highlighted during the First District’s Political Debate, hosted at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Youth Centre in Carrot Bay last evening, April 18, 2023. From left: VIP Candidate Dr Karl Dawson, PVIM Candidate Sylvia C. Romney-Moses and Independent Candidate Chad C. George.

‘Cancer cases are on the rise’- Romney-Moses

Mrs Romney-Moses, who explained that she lives in the District, said the recent incident of open burning was one of the worst, noting that within her lifetime this was the third incident where there was an explosion at the incinerator.

“Certainly, the hillside was on fire. The whole of Carrot Bay, the whole of the western end was affected. Individuals are suffering with health challenges, cancer cases are on the rise and we are not talking about it. But certainly, where I sit within the BVI Cancer Society, we know that the folks on this side of the island have been negatively impacted by the incinerator.

“I plan to work with my PVIM government to ensure that the required funding and legislation to the incinerator, that it’s addressed once and for all,” she said.

All First District Candidates have said the open burning situation at Pockwood Pond will be a top priority for them if elected.

‘Health has to be at the top of the list’- Dr Karl Dawson

Additionally, Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Candidate Dr Karl Dawson noted that this is a matter of health, which should be viewed as a national concern.

He noted; however, that he is convinced these two issues have not been looked at as national health emergencies.

“We’ve looked at them as issues, things to be dealt with but we haven’t looked at them as national health emergencies, linking what’s happening there with our health currently as well as potentially…We know that we see smoke come over the hill, but we don’t know yet what is the impact on our health in the short- term as well as in the long- term…”

Shedding light on the health concerns, Mrs Romney-Moses said there is a direct link between cancer deaths related to the hazardous activities.

“The Pockwood Pond waste disposal facility is causing tremendous health challenges for our people. And while Dr Dawson is saying he doesn’t know what the effects might be…it is causing our people within the District to come down with cancer. If we had 30 people die within the last year or so, trust you me, about 25 of them died from cancer- various types of cancers that were developed because of the effects coming out of the incinerator,” she stressed.

A number of persons turned up to witness the First District’s Political Debate on April 18, 2023.

Recycling an option- Chad C. George

Meanwhile, Independent Candidate Carl C. George said once elected, he would be a ‘bulldog’ on the situation.

Mr George said once elected, he would move towards recycling so that less garbage would be sent to the incinerator.

“With regards to the sewage and the water, that is far too long…as I said with the ‘Greedy Bill’, we can’t find money to build back this plant that was destroyed but we can find money to give guys two hundred and something thousand dollars and fifty cents to put in their pocket,” he said.

A number of persons turned up to witness the First District’s Political Debate on April 18, 2023.


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