Fines, penalties under the Public Health Act need to be updated

Dear Editor,

With the exception of perhaps the City of Georgetown the Environmental Health Officer faces a dilemma when carrying out the provisions of the Public Health Act Chapter 145 owing to the following:

Nuisance – If a person is taken to the magistrate’s court for causing a nuisance and found guilty, the magistrate cannot order the defendant to execute the work to abate the nuisance if the cost exceeds $240.00. The fine is $24.00 and if the defendant fails to abate the nuisance the penalty is $3.00 per day if the nuisance exists or continues to exist. Therefore if the defendant decides not to abate the nuisance and pay the $3.00 per day, the complainant would continue to suffer. This happened at Fyrish Village, Corentyne involving a rice factory some years ago. The NDC can take the nuisance matter to the high court and have the matter solved regardless of the cost. However no NDC has ever done that, although some were so advised. Also any person who is affected by a nuisance can take private legal action against the guilty party.

Building – For building without permission, the fine is $50.00. The magistrate may make an order to demolish a building or the offending portion of one, however no demolition order has ever been granted, except for about 20 years ago because the person constructed the building within the burial ground. In the case of issues such as drainage, sanitary facilities and environmental health problems the fine is $50.00. I was advised that the fines were multiplied by 65 times, but that is still totally inadequate. As an example, $3.00 per day fine for a nuisance is just $195.

The Public Health Act Chapter 145 is an apt piece of legislation; however, unless the fine and penalties are substantially updated the Environmental Health Officer would continue to be ridiculed, accused of not carrying out his/her duties or of engaging in bribery and corruption.

As the fines and penalties currently exist, my stand is to encourage people to carry out the work rather than institute court proceedings, which may be more detrimental to the health and well-being of the persons who are affected, especially in cases of nuisance.

 

Yours faithfully,

R Sukhu

Senior Environmental

Health Officer

Region 6

More in Letters

default placeholder

There was a net reduction of tax revenues by $1.2B

Dear Editor, On July 13, the media reported Minister Jordan as saying that Central Government’s revenues increased by 5.9% or by $3B as of April 2016 compared to April 2015.

default placeholder

Small drainage tube causing Mainstay/Three Friends flooding

Dear Editor, The residents of the Essequibo Coast continue to experience flooding from heavy rainfall.  Around 2 pm on Saturday (July 23rd) I received phone calls from residents of Mainstay/Three Friends and Hampton Court that their yards and lower flats were under water.

20160725Buer

Leguan roads are in a terrible state

Dear Editor, The potholes in the Leguan roads get bigger every day. The residents complained to the Leguan NDC about the deteriorated roads without success.

default placeholder

Expired goods at Port Mourant market

Dear Editor, It is now becoming epidemic and frustrating to see the high volume of expired goods that are being circulated and sold to consumers at the Port Mourant Market.

default placeholder

Why the blood test and $5,000 to register children at Skeldon High School?

Dear Editor, The result slips for the Grade 6 Assessment have July 22 as the date for parents to register children in secondary school.

default placeholder

The buck stops at someone

Dear Editor, Antonio and Joshua George, victims of the fire which engulfed the Drop-In Centre were laid to rest recently. In the total confusion which ensued, during the fire one of the children remembered his brother was not with him, and paid the extreme sacrifice.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: