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Five Cays fall-out over filth and illegal construction, MP called on to resign

View of Five Cays shanty housing two days after Hurricane Irma, 2017 by Magnetic Media

#Five Cays, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, May 10, 2018 – Two Five Cays titans are clashing over the cleanliness of the community; who is responsible and whether or not more should be done to clean up the small south side district.

Paula Arthur-Rigby, TV show host of the Average Joe shared her disappointment about the filth and blamed the Member of Parliament in a PTV newscast for allowing Five Cays to languish in debris and dirt and disorder some eight months after the hurricanes.

“I don’t care who feels crushed or hurt or upset; I believed in Sean with all my heart, I put my X on the line only to be disappointed.”

Arthur-Rigby was fierce in her comments as she called for her MP to resign.

The Average Joe, as she is sometimes called said she could understand ‘excuses’ when the member was in opposition, but not now that he is a part of the Government administration of the Turks and Caicos Islands and as second in command.

“You cannot tell me that Five Cays isn’t being neglected.”

Paula Arthur-Rigby is speaking of Deputy Premier, Border Control and Employment Minister and Member of Parliament for Five Cays and Chalk Sound, Hon. Sean Astwood.   

Arthur-Rigby believes that too many people are being allowed to take advantage of the systems established to ensure law and order, that sickness and discomfort due to pungent odors among other things are commonplace, all the while she points out, elected leaders are not ensuring the laws are followed.

“A few weeks ago, I made the statement that Five Cays is dirty.  I was bashed.  Every day we have new houses  and buildings popping up and nobody is saying anything.  It is overpopulated, it is over-crowded and it is nasty, it is filthy, it is ridiculous.  There is no law for Five Cays and I am not understanding it.”

Arthur-Rigby is a well known supporter of the MP and while the tone Arthur-Rigby takes is no surprise because she is widely known for her unapologetic, frankness, the subject of her scathing comments are more startling.  Paula said she has had enough…

Resident shares photo of Five Cays on day news broke about ‘filth’

“When our elected government and ministers allow people to just come in and take advantage of the system, without saying anything or doing anything, I have a problem with this..” Paula added,  “Five Cays needs structure, Five Cays needs someone to set laws and police the laws.  Five Cays needs to be cleaned up.”

Five Cays and Chalk Sound MP, Sean Astwood was immediately contacted by Magnetic Media about the strong statements and call for his resignation.  Hours later, Astwood issued a statement to defend his record and question the motive for the passionate remarks from one of his more famous supporters.

“For over a decade, I have been organizing and participating in cleanup campaigns in my constituency of Five Cays.  During these years residents consistently contact me reporting areas where persons continue to dump garbage.  I have forwarded these reports to Environmental health who have always responded positively.  No longer than yesterday, concerned residents sent me a picture of garbage dumped in the middle of the road, in an area of Five Cays.  I reported it to Environmental health and they had the garbage removed the same day.”

Five Cays just like other areas throughout our Islands, have persons who do not care about their surroundings and will continue to dump garbage.  Therefore, cleaning up of the constituency is an ongoing process.”

Five Cays was one of the worst hit communities in Hurricane Irma and has long been plagued with shanty villages and squalid conditions, which will now be subject to new building codes and regulations.  The Minister agreed that there is a disregard for the law.

The constant dumping by persons with no concern for their surroundings makes it difficult to get volunteers to participate in cleanup campaigns.  Following the Storms and as recent as last week contracts to clean Five Cays were issued under Public Works and Environmental Health.  My Government recently passed a Bill that gave the Planning Department more powers to deal with squatters and other illegal developments where in many respects is home to large illegal dumping sites.  They have also been given increased staff to deal with inspections and compliance.  Both the Environmental Health Department and the Public Works Department has been given additional budgetary allotments to deal with these long standing issues.”

The Deputy Premier and Member for the District also focused on the complaining constituent: “I must say I have never seen the resident in the News clipping at any of the cleanup campaigns that I have organized or participated in over the past 7 years.  This same resident is in a WhatsApp group that I am apart of and recently two issues were reported to me by others in the group, I addressed those issues and gave the Group an update the same day, and as recently as yesterday.  So there was always an avenue for her to report her concerns to me or Environmental health.  I find her motives highly questionable but my focus will remain on my Constituency of Five Cays and not on persons with political agendas.”

Both Five Cays natives were speaking out on Wednesday about the challenges in the community.

It is worth noting that the message shared by Arthur-Rigby is echoing from other Turks and Caicos districts where it is believed clean up and debris removal should be more vigorous or is simply too slow, especially with the Atlantic Hurricane Season being mere weeks away from officially beginning on June 1.

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