Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DOMA: Negative info on fires keeping people away


burning: An aerial view of the fire in the Beetham landfill on Wednesday. —Photo: Curtis Chase

Mark Fraser

THE Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) has called for “conscious” reporting by the media on the most recent fires in the Beetham landfill.

DOMA president Gregory Aboud had said in a radio interview that reports on the conditions in Port of Spain and environs as a result of the fires were not entirely in line with the reality and were affecting the flow of people into the capital.

He said on Wednesday that aside from news on the fires from last Friday and to present, the word “city” had become a negative buzzword for the association with violent crime, when the crimes often take place outside of downtown Port of Spain itself.

“Like everyone else, we have been very anxious about this latest incident at the Beetham landfill,” Aboud said in a telephone interview with the Express.

“But over the past several days, we have not found that there is a strong correlation between news reports and what we are actually seeing and feeling in downtown Port of Spain.”

Two fires have been reported in the landfill by the Solid Waste Management Company (SWMCOL), one last Friday  that was extinguished soon after and another on Sunday that was being put out up to last night. 

The company said yesterday the fires appeared to have been deliberately set.

Aboud said while there was a large plume of smoke coming out of the landfill, the smoke appeared to have drifted over the Gulf of Paria and did not settle downtown.

“We point this out because we do pay a price for this negativity,” Aboud said.

“And we wish to respectfully point out that all of us need to be a little bit more conscious in our comments, particularly at times when repeating previous statements and reporting in a cliched manner can have unnecessarily negative consequences.”

Aboud said, however, that security at he landfill seems to be “weak” and that the association sees no reason that should be allowed to continue “given the negative consequences, not only to the city and to the country but to the people who live so close by”.