Regional operations manager at WPM Waste Management Limited Edward Muir distributes meals to residents of Westmoreland Infirmary during their recent Christmas treat.
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland – Western Parks and Markets (WPM) Waste Management Limited recently brought early Christmas cheer to approximately 100 residents at Westmoreland Infirmary.
The treat, which was hosted on the grounds of the infirmary, saw residents and WPM employees singing popular Christmas carols and enjoying meals during the lunch hour. A donation including boxes of clothing was also made by WPM’s Regional Operations Manager Edward Muir.
Expressing her gratitude on behalf of the residents, the infirmary’s Matron Nedene Collins-White told the Jamaica Observer that such events bring happiness and comfort to the people living in the State-run infirmary, many of whom are elderly. She shared that residents of Westmoreland Association for Street People (WASP) shelter were also in attendance. The shelter is managed and maintained by the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC).
“It is very important to host these events. It cheers them up, and they look forward to things like this yearly when people come in to treat them and they have fun,” said Collins-White.
WPM’s public cleansing manager serves a meal to a resident at Westmoreland Infirmary.
The infirmary’s youngest resident is a 25-year-old, and Collins-White told the Sunday Observer that residents rarely get visits from their families. It is also unlikely that residents of the infirmary are ever taken in by family members, so they remain there until they die.
The matron went on to explain that many of the residents were severely affected by the restrictions brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic, so the resumption of gatherings has given them hope.
“With COVID we didn’t have any visitors so some of them were [extremely unhappy], so when they get visits and have gatherings like this it is good for them,” she said.
For his part, Muir told the Sunday Observer that the initiative was envisioned by WPM’s team as they seek to show “the true meaning of Christmas”.
WPM’s Regional Operations Manager Edward Muir handing over a donation to Cavene Brown, a patient care assistant at Westmoreland Infirmary.
“At WPM we decided to help share the true meaning of Christmas with the less fortunate so this year we chose to do the infirmary in Westmoreland. We met with almost 100 residents where we brought some hot, cooked meals for them along with some clothing,” said Muir.
Muir, who recently took over operations at WPM, explained that, come next year, the waste management authority will be seeking another location in the region to continue sharing its love for Christmas.
In the meantime, Muir said the authority was strategic in choosing Westmoreland this time around, as work continues diligently to clear approximately 11 loads of backlog in the parish.
“After doing our assessment [we] decided to come here. But we are also doing an operation today so the fact that we are doing that, we decided to just spend the entire day and spend some time with the less fortunate while we remove the garbage from the roads,” Muir said on Wednesday.
While pointing out that the residents were receptive to their visit to the infirmary, Muir urged residents across the region to also spread love to their sanitation workers during the Christmas period.
“The residents here were very happy. They welcomed us and they are asking when we are coming back so we feel happy and blessed. We are happy that we are in a position to help the less fortunate,” said Muir.
He continued, “I want to use this opportunity to echo the sentiments to the wider communities across WPM as we ask that residents share the love with our sanitation workers by ensuring that they containerise their garbage. Please reduce, reuse, and recycle so that our sanitation workers have it much easier to remove the garbage on a timely basis during this period.”
At the same time Muir told the Sunday Observer that WPM’s team is working assiduously to clear the 20 loads of backlog currently across the parish, before Christmas Day. Muir said the waste management authority is committed to ensuring that the region enters the upcoming year clean and free of garbage.
“We are at 20 loads of backlog in the region, and I must say that Montego Bay has the lowest backlog; we have reduced Montego Bay’s backlog to less than two loads. In Trelawny we have about three loads, and we have less than three loads in Hanover. Westmoreland has the highest backlog and we are pushing and trying our best to reduce this as quickly as possible,” Muir explained.
“We intend to ensure that on Christmas [Day] we have no backlog in the region. We are currently removing bulky waste, and cleaning mini dumps across the region as well, so come next year we intend to step up on our operations. We will be getting some new trucks next year and we hope that with those additional trucks we can have a very clean region,” he added.
Muir noted that there are 19 compactors, one tipper, and one crane unit currently in operation. In addition to that, he told the Sunday Observer that four units are currently being repaired.
“We have another four units in the garage that we are currently working on; we hope to get two of those out of the garage to bring the fleet to 21 by the end of the week. We are making some progress at WPM, and with residents partnering with us to containerise their garbage we will see a decrease,” said Muir.
As it relates to the shortage of drivers, Muir said the authority is working to have suitable candidates join the team.
“As it relates to drivers, quite many people have come into the office but, after doing our internal tests and the Island Traffic Authority does their tests, we are seeing a decrease in the number of people being qualified for the driver positions. However, we continue to search. We have partnered with the parish councils to help us identify drivers across the region,” he said.
“It is not easy but we have to push and ensure that we have the requisite tools to execute our duties,” Muir added.