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Jun 6, 2017

Burrell Boom Continues Battle Against Boat Yard

As we reported on Monday, residents of Burrell Boom village are up in arms that Bradley’s Boat Yard is relocating within their village, introducing them to a potentially cancerous future with the tiny particles of dust from use of fibreglass floating through the countryside air and causing various lung diseases. A group known as the “Burrell Boom Protectors” have been aggressively lobbying since February and today they brought their concerns to the media center, Belize City, under the aegis of Geovannie Brackett’s Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action. News Five’s Aaron Humes tells us what they want.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Since February, residents of Burrell Boom have been grappling with what they claim is the introduction of a potential threat to their lives in the form of fibreglass dust wafting from the future site of Bradley’s Boat Yard. According to Darren Stewart, who has worked with fibreglass for several years, its dangers are insidious and not easy to fight against.

 

Darren Stewart

Darren Stewart, Burrell Boom Protectors

“Fibreglass is not biodegradable. Fibreglass is going to be there forever. All you can do with fibreglass is bury it and hope that nobody digs it up again, because it is forever. When we worked with fibreglass in the past, we were all trained to use protective gears – and these gears go from mask to skin protection. And I would like to make it abundantly clear to the viewing public out there as well, to understand that you may not have to be near a fibreglass facility in order to be affected by it.”

 

For many years, Bradley’s Boat Yard was located along the Haulover Creek behind Belize Water Services Limited. Residents of that neighbourhood, such as Dawn Castillo, recognized too late the danger it presented. Now that she lives on the edge of death due to the fibreglass particles in her lungs, Castillo says Steven Bradley, the owner, has much to answer for.

 

Dawn Castillo

Dawn Castillo, Affected by Bradley’s Boat Yard

“This man knows fully well what he mi di do the whole while; he knows what this thing is all about. I haven’t but other people in my neighbourhood go to him fi buy medication and he buy it. If he know that, like he claim to me – I di use this thing and nothing happen to me – he was not the one doing the work; he have workers to do that. He hardly deh da dis place, he go and come. And if you know you noh guilty of something why will you buy medication for people? Why? I am with Miss Maria and the rest because – yes, he done move out of my neighborhood but I noh wah nobody else di go through weh I di go through.”

 

According to resident Ryan Craig, the Department’s own regulations at present limit Bradley’s operations.

 

Ryan Craig

Ryan Craig, Burrell Boom Protectors

“One of the guidelines is that fibreglass work area shouldn’t be within two hundred feet of the nearest water supply; we have right across, not too far across from this boatyard – its original name is Baboon Creek, most people know it as ‘Johnny Pan’ – and this is literally across; when we did an online measurement and it stated that his location to where it is, is about one hundred and seventy-five feet, that is even less than the barrier that it should be.  Proposed siting of a fibreglass-using facility within residential or commercial zones will not be considered. As far as I know, villagers, many people around that specific area where he is putting his shop. And it continues to say, ‘Sites will need to be located within designated industrial zones; or on properties that provide an adequate buffer from residential or commercial sites. Sites should not be located in areas where there is a potential to affect nearby residents. Fibreglass associated facilities must be located at least two hundred feet away from any permanent water body, such as rivers, lagoon, creeks, wells, the sea, etc. All of which he is technically in violation of.”

 

And that, says Stewart, is the reason why Burrell Boom residents can’t afford to wait Bradley out.

 

Darren Stewart

“It is no use waiting until Mr. Bradley has invested thousands or tens of thousands into his business and then try to bribe whoever he may be able to – because we know the culture of Belize – try to bribe whoever he may be able to bribe within the D.O.H. or the D.O.E. to get his clearance, and then we the people of Burrell Boom [are] left stuck with a situation.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

The villagers await a response from the Department. It was also noted that the City Council had ordered Bradley not to work during the night while his business was located in Belize City.

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