While lamenting that civic pride is diminishing across the territory, businesswoman Maris Hodge-Wright has stated that it would help if new expatriates are educated on the territory’s standards for civic pride and garbage disposal practices as soon as they arrive.
Hodge was speaking on a recent airing of the Talking Points radio show, where the matter of poor waste management was being discussed.
She said she has noticed that some groups of expats treat the BVI the same way they treat their home countries; even though their habits may fall below the Virgin Islands
“I think education has a part to play. I’m not going to call names but I’ve been to some countries where from the time you get out the airport, it’s just filthy and you can’t expect those people to come with their culture and be different. If you throw the garbage anywhere where you live, when you go somewhere else you will do the same thing,” Hodge-Wright explained.
She continued: “Maybe in some instances, we need to have education built in for people who are coming. When they get a work permit, we can give them a paper that explains where garbage needs to go; just cultural things so they know that this is what we expect from you.”
While agreeing with Hodge-Wright’s point, host of the programme Violet Gaul added that the culture around beautification and civic pride has to be championed by Virgin Islanders. She said the territory shouldn’t expect expats to uphold practices that residents aren’t.
The issue of garbage disposal continues to be a hot topic in the BVI as the community continues to debate the healthiest way to dispose of solid waste amid its growing and diverse population. Pockwood Pond — one of the main landfills in the territory — is never left out of those conversations as occasional fires at the dump pose health hazards to the community.
In the meantime, co-host Damion Grange suggested that though residents have a part to play, the government also has a responsibility to create the environment for good garbage disposal. He said the Virgin Islands
needs to transition to a stage where garbage is properly sorted and picked up from homes regularly.
“That way citizens don’t have to travel with it (garbage). That way you have a managed system going on and it reduces the ability for this mess around the place,” Grange said.