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Kingston, Jamaica, July 16, 2017:  The Member of Parliament for Clarendon, South Western, Mr. Noel Arscott is citing the poor garbage collection and the mismanagement of waste disposal across the island as factors contributing to the growing, and now out of control infestation of rats, and the increasing cases of leptospirosis being reported in sections of Clarendon. 

Mr. Arscott believes that two of the reported cases of death in Clarendon can be attributed to the poor management of garbage collection in the area, which has contributed to the rat infestation in the northern region of the parish. 

He is expressing deep concerns that there is the danger of a wider outbreak of the disease in the parish and beyond its borders if corrective measures are not adopted immediately. “Based on reports received, the state of the garbage pile-up is approaching the point of a public health emergency,” Mr. Arscott said. 

Mr. Arscott, who served as Local Government Minister in the last PNP Administration, is calling for an immediate and thorough performance audit of the waste management authority to determine the extent of dysfunction within the structures of the authority and related agencies. 

The audit would also address the state of garbage collection in communities across Clarendon and whether partisan consideration in the collection of garbage has factored in the outbreak of the disease. “As a nation, we cannot justify this unsightly, unhealthy and disgraceful pile up of garbage, especially in our tourist resort areas”, Mr. Arscott said.  

He also pointed to a $15 Million rat mitigation project, targeting our main tourist resort of Montego Bay, which has not yielded optimum result; and has raised concerns about whether there is value for money in the manner in which this programme was being implemented and how the procurement procedure was undertaken. 


Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. It is a form of a bacterial infection that is carried by animals, most commonly in rats. It can be caught by humans and animals through contact with rat urine. Cattle consuming feed contaminated by infected rat’s urine can be affected. Special care must be taken to protect food and water from rats. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress and even death.