The following statement was released at 9:06pm (June 24) by the Minister of Labour Jason Hayward, MP for Pembroke Central…

The emissions emanating from Belco continue to negatively impact residents of Pembroke. As the MP for Pembroke Central, I remain concerned with the safety and wellbeing of the community residents.

The pollution caused by the smoke stacks at Belco has been an ongoing problem despite many residents in the surrounding area continuously submitting evidence of property damages. An overwhelming number of constituents in my & the Premier’s constituency have expressed that their cars, roofs and other property are regularly covered in soot, the air quality remains poor and their water supplies are compromised as a result of the emissions from the neighbouring power plant.

Despite outreach to Belco on several occasions, the problem has persisted, which is simply unsatisfactory. The company’s lack of urgency to rectify the problem has been most alarming and can only be perceived as negligence and a disregard for the community.

The company continues to reassure the public that the problem will be addressed, however, to date the problem remains. As recently as this past week, area residents have sustained property damages and endured polluted water and air quality.

I am again requesting on behalf of the residents that:

• Belco provide a clear plan to address the ongoing problem;

• Belco pay for water filters to be installed and maintained in area residences; and

• Belco provide adequate and proactive outreach to residents to address property restoration (car, homes, roofs, outside furniture ) paid for by the company;

I urge Belco to work to rectify this issue as residents should not have to accept a compromised quality of life due to their business operations.

I have also raised the matter directly with the Minister of Home Affairs who is well aware of the issues that have arisen around clean air and water. I have been informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs is now advancing legislation and regulations to tighten standards related to air, water quality and pollution levels.

The Bermuda Clean Air Coalition also has done a great job of ensuring that the problem is addressed and Belco is held accountable. Myself & the Premier, who represents the neighbouring  constituency, will continue to support the group’s efforts to restore clean air and minimise pollution for the area residents.