Open for business

No shutdown necessary, says Dr George

Despite having over 30 suspected cases of gastroenteritis on its hands, a top public health official today assured that Government was not about to order the closure of food establishments along the island’s sewage affected south coast.

“I know that the media want to hear about shut downs and closures . . . [but] it is not going to happen,” said Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George when asked by Barbados TODAY to comment on the specific suggestion that has been made in some quarters that the food outlets need to be closed until the current effluent leaks were resolved.

Despite over 30 suspected cases of gastroenteritis Government is not about to order the closure of food establishments along the island’s sewage affected south coast.

Among those who are firmly of that view is spokesman for the south coast residents and community activist Adrian Donavan, who has called on the Ministry of Health to immediately order the temporary closure of fast food outlets, restaurants and guest accommodations directly affected by the worsening sewage crisis.

While acknowledging that the call was a tough one to make, Donavan said as recently as two weeks ago that such a move was necessary because the sight of faeces bubbling at the doorstep of restaurants was akin to “selling food from a portable toilet”.

Spokesman for the south coast residents Adrian Donavan (inset) has called for the immediate closure of fast food outlets, restaurants and guest accommodations directly affected by the sewage crisis, saying that such a move was necessary because the sight of faeces bubbling at the doorstep of restaurants was akin to “selling food from a portable toilet”.

However, while admitting that the current crisis, which has so far forced two food operators to close their businesses and part of an apartment hotel to shut down without official order, Dr George said the situation was fluid and unpredictable at best, but he was optimistic that it could be controlled.

“We don’t know what is going to happen from day to day,” the top medical official said, while maintaining that the public health aspect of the sewage mess could be kept under control once food handlers wash their hands regularly and observe all other hygienic requirements.

“If it gets out of hand [on any given day] we have placed 15 environmental health officers in the area,” he said, adding that these would allow for stepped-up inspection of the businesses in the section from Top Rock to Hastings, which has been defined as the problem area.

Dr George’s comments came amid reports from residents and businesses of an easing somewhat of the sewage stench after crews from the Barbados Water Authority and the Sanitation Service Authority worked throughout the night on Tuesday to wash down the streets and to clear some of the blockage that has been accumulating in the south coast sewerage system.

The remedial efforts are expected to continue in the coming days. However, it remains to be seen how long the current reprieve will last, with a permanent fix still proving to be elusive.

Just yesterday, the Canadian government, through the Public Health Agency of Canada, issued a safety and security warning, advising its citizens to avoid the affected area. Today the United States government followed suit, issuing a similar health alert to its citizens, saying “there is an overflow of raw sewage due to mechanical failure on the island’s south coast that is affecting the water quality at certain beaches between the Hastings and St Lawrence Gap areas.

“Sewage has periodically bubbled up onto the streets, and there are reports that the overflow is reaching the beach areas,” the health alert issued on the US Embassy in Bridgetown’s website earlier today said.

In the circumstances, the US has called on its citizens to “avoid water activities in the affected areas” of the south coast between St Lawrence Gap and Hastings, and to “beware of sewage on the streets.

“If you come into contact with sewage, wash your hands, shoes, and any clothing that may have come into contact with the effluence. If you become seriously ill, seek medical attention,” the advisory states.

This follows an announcement by the Ministry of Health yesterday that 35 suspected gastro cases were under investigation

However, this figure does not take into account the suspected cases of five English visitors who claimed they fell ill with gastro after dining at a restaurant located in the heart of the sewage leaks.

Joanne Collins reached out to Barbados TODAY yesterday in an effort to contact local health authorities regarding the misfortunate she suffered, along with her partner David Heads  and three of their friends for which they have since received a written apology from the restaurant in question.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

10 Responses to Open for business

  1. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba January 10, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    THE SEWAGE GOVERNMENT DON’T HAVE TO ORDER THE CLOSURE, THE PEOPLE STAYING AWAY WILL DO IT, HOW ON EARTH COULD ANYONE EAT INHALING THAT SMELL THROUGH THE MOUTH AN NOSE?

    Reply
    • Maria Thompson
      Maria Thompson January 10, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      1000 likes

      Reply
    • tedd January 11, 2018 at 10:09 am

      i am surprised that people still go in the area to eat sleep or even to pass through. one does not need a nanny state just consumers who act according to their best interests and business that are concerned about their image and reputation should someone become ill due to patronizing their establishment.

      Reply
  2. Pat Clarke January 11, 2018 at 2:40 am

    Government Ministers should be made to eat up there everyday until the mess is cleaned.

    Reply
  3. Ossie Moore January 11, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George says :

    “I know that the media want to hear about shut downs and closures . . . [but] it is not going to happen,”

    Ossie : You won’t get an Oscar for this ACTING performance
    Dr. Ken ! ! !

    The Barbados media don’t have to spread the word , you can shut up the bajan media but you cannot shut up the International media or social media which reaches ” zillions ” more than the Barbados media.

    You are now ” small fish in a big pond ” you are playing on a big international stage so stop talking crap ( no pun intended ) because the TOURISTS already know what is going on.

    You better be careful what you say ” actor ” or you’ll never have the word ” ACTING ” removed from in front of your name . . . . . but then again we’re talking about “buh”bados ! ! ! !

    Reply
  4. Richard Johnston January 11, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Wait till somebody dies?

    Reply
  5. Mike K January 11, 2018 at 9:32 am

    I personally know of 10 other people that were sick all within this area…me being one of them, i am positive the number is probably closer to at least 150.
    They need to contact all hotels and ask them how many people have been sick but they won’t because they know the answer will make them look bad.
    In any case for now it’s a 24 to 48 hour gastro so if you have it just hang in there.

    Reply
  6. Ossie Moore January 11, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Not only is there sewage spilling into the streets of Barbados , but you also have an “actor ” who is spilling sewage from his mouth .

    Reply
  7. milli watt January 11, 2018 at 11:11 am

    CMO don’t have the gonads, testicular fortitude he might, however, have DE BELLY from the look and smell a tings……..

    Reply
  8. F.A.Rudder January 11, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    All human resources necessarily involved in the civil and industrial engineering discipline should bring their common energies together to have this problem resolved ASAP! It’s your home land, it’s where you earn your assets. It’s now Show me who you are as a NATION AND NOT A PARTY! Citizens should accommodation those persons whose properties are affected for the time being. There is pride and there is another source of pride and that’s being one nation as Kentucky’s Flag motto says” United we stand divided we fall”!!

    Reply

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