Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton has announced that the Ministry will be serving more notices to persons who fail to comply with instructions to reduce mosquito-breeding sites, which can lead to prosecution.
The Health Minister made the announcement at a town hall meeting, which focused on dengue, at the Zorn Moravian Church in Christiana, Manchester, on Monday, December 9.
Minister Tufton explained that the Ministry has been using moral suasion, in addition to several strategies; however, the delinquency of some residents has pushed the health team to use other strategies in the fight against dengue, caused by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
“The resources have been made available, however the behavior of many of our citizens is what is causing some of the challenges we are facing. The environmental health unit of the Ministry has the power to serve notices on persons, which can lead to prosecution, for failing to eliminate their surroundings of mosquito breeding sites. Our biggest defense against the dengue outbreak is personal responsibility” the Minister said.
Chief Public Health Inspector for Manchester, Charmaine Palmer-Cross explained that under the Public Health (Nuisance) Regulation of 1995, failure to adequately respond to the notices can be followed by court action and heavy fines.
Mrs. Palmer-Cross noted that persons who refuse the health team access to their premises to employ vector control activities can be charged a maximum fine of $1 million. She added that the Public Health Act gives Public Health Inspectors the power to enter premises to execute these functions and failure to do so can result in prosecution. Persons who do not take steps to rid their premises of mosquito breeding sites can also be prosecuted and charged a maximum fine of $500,000.00
Minister Tufton also announced that in addition to the other initiatives that the Ministry has implemented, 36 new vehicles equipped with ULV fogging machines have been purchased to assist all parishes with their vector-control programme as well as town hall meetings focused on dengue are being done across the island.
The Ministry is also improving its collaboration with the Municipal Corporations across the country and other agencies. A national clean-up day is being planned for January 2020.