Chief Environmental Health Officer Andre Worme says that although there is a law that can result in persons being charged for creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes, the Ministry will not be focusing on enforcing the law, but instead is encouraging persons to clean up their surroundings to reduce the mosquito breeding grounds.
“If we are to effectively enforce this law, lots of people, a significant proportion of the population will be charged or be sent up to prison because of the high evidence of mosquito breeding that is observed or discovered around people’s home,” Worme told the media during Tuesday’s weekly post Cabinet briefing.
“Yes, we have the law, however, we are still going to try moral suasion to get the public to do what is right, and that is cleaning up to get rid of the breeding mosquito areas,” said Health Minister Clarice Modeste. However, Worme has warned that there may come a time when a home owner or property owner will be charged under the law.
The Mosquito Destruction Act it came into effect on 28 June 1952. The regulations of that act were approved by Cabinet in 2003, and states that ‘An owner or occupier, as the case may be, of premises, who contravenes any of the provisions of the regulations shall be guilty of an offense and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of EC$250 dollars in the case of a first offence and, in the case of a subsequent offence, to a fine of EC$500.’ The 1952 legislation provided for a general fine of EC$500.
That law makes it clear that owners and occupiers of any premises should not creating breeding areas for mosquitoes, and that evidence of a breeding area will be physical evidence of mosquito larvae in cans and other containers around or close to premises.
Since Grenada reported its first case of Chikungunya in July, the Ministry of Health commenced airing public service announcements which not only informs the general public about the legislation, but also encourages the public to clean up the surroundings. There are presently 183 confirmed Chikungunya cases with many other suspected cases. Most of these cases are in the Grenadine islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
On Tuesday, Health Minister Clarice Modeste said that she was dissatisfied with the ongoing behaviour with some sections of the public with regard to the warning.
“Chikungunya not only brings short term pain to those who are infected, but is also a long term medical ailment. This virus lasts in the body a long time,” she warned, while expressing her disappointment that a lot of people are not cleaning their surroundings which is ultimately resulting in more mosquito breeding areas.
by Linda Straker