It has been more than a month since the EPA visited a Cotton Field, Essequibo Coast businessman regarding my complaint of dust and noise pollution. Miss Noble promised me that she will give me a follow-up by writing what action has been taken by the agency. To date, I am not in receipt of any such letter and it now leaves me to wonder if I have to be waiting for another 15 years for an answer regarding what action has been taken.
The day of the investigation, Miss Kissoon from the agency took a statement from me as to what transpired before the new management of the EPA took over. I explained to her what had happened and what action was taken. She seemed to be in a hurry and cut me short of telling her what sickness I am suffering from.
I am confined to a wheelchair after an accident. I spend most of my time in bed. I am also ailing from a heart condition and whenever the workers of the Cotton Field business load the steel rods onto the iron tray of the trucks, it shocks my brain, causing my heart to beat fast. I am now left to wonder if the EPA’s visit to the Essequibo Coast was an excursion and not to listen to the people’s complaints.
Minister Amna Ally and Minister Volda Lawrence, having seen my letter in Stabroek News, ordered a full investigation. The Central Board of Health visited the cement and steel rods bond and found that the hardware store has no approval from the Anna Regina Town Council, CBH, CH&PA and the EPA. A letter, copied to me by the Central Board of Health, on the 15th March 2019, advised the businessman to remove his hardware store to a spot at Anna Regina, failing which, he will face the consequences.
The EPA has failed in its mandate as set out in the Environmental Act 2006, which was passed in the National Assembly and signed by former Prime Minister Samuel Hinds. To my mind, the CBH has been more vibrant and active in my matter from the letter I received. The former EPA Executive Director, Mr Doorga Persaud, was also more active in pursuing my case after the businessman failed to adhere to his notices. He moved the matter to the High Court twice and got the honourable judge to close the business. I myself uplifted the order at the Suddie High Court with a bailiff and served it on him. His wife took the judge’s order and threw it away after receiving it from the bailiff.
Mr Doorga was about to take him back to the High Court for contempt of court for refusing the judge’s order but he was transferred to the GLSC and the matter fell off the radar for 15 years. I now have hope under this new government that the matter is being pursued by the Central Board of Health and the Minister of Health.