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Grenada considering introduction of mosquito breeding legislation

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Friday September 19, 2014, CMC – Grenadian authorities are considering the re-introduction of Mosquito Destruction Act of 1952 to deal with the breeding of mosquitoes in light of a significant number of people suffering from the Chikunguyna virus.

Chief Environmental Health Officer, Andre Worme, said the Ministry of Health is looking at the country’s Mosquito Destruction Act of 1952, which had been enacted during a period when there was an intense eradication programme in the Caribbean.

The legislation sought to encourage people to apply proper environmental hygiene practices in an effort to reduce the mosquito population, thereby reducing the incidence of dengue which was prevalent at the time.

“Years gone by we have seen a gradual abrogation and a moving away from the enforcement mechanisms and we thought that with the current threat of Chikungunya, it is important for us now to bring greater awareness to this possibility that persons can be prosecuted for infringement of this piece of legislation.”

The Mosquito Destruction Act provides for a fine of EC$250 (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) for first time offenders found guilty by the court of having on their properties, containers of water with mosquito larva in them. Repeat offenders will be charged EC$500.00.

According to Worme, once the decision is taken to begin the enforcement of the legislation, it can be done by Health Officials applying directly to the court or through the police prosecutorial system.

In the meantime however the Ministry is on a sensitization drive to make people aware of the existence of the legislation.

“Although we know the adage that ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’, we still wanted to ensure that persons become aware of the problem and this piece of legislation, prior to taking more serious enforcement action.”

He said the Ministry can begin enforcing the law within the next two weeks.

Earlier this week, medical practitioner here said that the Chikungunya virus had reached epidemic level and urged the population to dispel the myth that the disease is spread by other means except the aedes egypti mosquito.

Dr. Francis Martin said the virus has reached epidemic proportions with close to 60 per cent of the population manifesting symptoms which he said could be linked to the fact that people are refusing to accept that the virus is spread by the mosquito.

“As a people we try to shift blame, or shift things because it removes our responsibility…but somehow the idea of people saying it’s not mosquito it feels as though people want to take responsibility away from themselves that they are the ones to keep the place clean,” he added.

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CMLF News Issue #7
27th January 2016