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Oct 16, 2017

Recycler Run Over on Highway

Elroy Jones

A recycler was killed over the weekend following a clean-up of the George Price Highway. Elroy Jones was on the job when he lost his life; he was run over by a truck he was travelling in. The Belize City man was putting in bags of trash into the trailer when he accidentally slipped, fell under the truck and was crushed by the wheels sometime around three o’clock on Saturday.  He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at five p.m. and the driver of the truck was issued with a Notice of Intended Prosecution. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Isha Graham, Cousin of Elroy Jones

“I mi deh inna the vehicle and I only hear when ih head gone “blu-blup” dah when ih head mash and look like ih brain drop inna ih hand and dah when I come out and I neva believe I mi wah si my cousin pahn the ground like this.”

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Thirty-eight-year-old Elroy Jones was with ten other recyclers collecting bagged garbage from along the George Price Highway on Saturday afternoon. According to the recyclers, Jones was on this eighteen-wheeler truck– a company contracted to take waste from the transfer station for final disposal down to the regional sanitary landfill – it was driven at the time by Cornelius Schmitt. Jones reportedly tried to pick up a bag with garbagewhen he lost his balance andaccidentally fell off under the wheels that crushed him.His cousin and fellow recycler Isha Graham was there.

 

Isha Graham

Isha Graham

“We mi di do wah cleanup campaign from one mile to Belmopan. Deh just mi di dash in the garbagedeh weh deh find pahn the road side. That dah weh we mi di doand dah when we reach dah Jaguar Paw and dah then when everything got like that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did he slip or anything like that?”

 

Isha Graham

“I think he slip because dah nuh the driver fault. It look like he mi wah pick up a bag – right fah deh he see wah bag and he see wah bally and he tell ah that he got that – because dah lone ah that he like say ‘ I got this’ and dah fah right deh so he slip and whole ah yah so just get mashed up and his brains drop inna his hand and lotta thing.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, he was on the truck at the time?”

 

Isha Graham

“Yes, ma’am. It look like he slip off ah wah lee step piece weh deh mi got deh he slip and we just hear ‘ blup-blup’ and dah when his brains and bones deh look like deh just crack up inna ih head. We mi think dah bump we jump.”

 

The incident happened between miles thirty-five and thirty six along the highway sometime around three on Saturday afternoon. The recyclers were picking up the garbage collected from the “Walk for Green Belize” clean-up campaign that happened earlier that day. Since seven that morning, participants walked along the highway and picked up trash that they bagged. And shortly around mid-day Jones and ten other recyclers came behind to load the bags into the trailer of the truck to take back to the transfer station – where they would sift through for recyclable materials -that’s what Jones had hoped to dothis week – but he never got that chance. He died in what his co-workers call “a freak accident”. The clean-up campaign is an initiative carried out by the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority and other partners.

 

Tyronne Chimilio

Tyronne Chimilio, Communications Officer, Belize Solid Waste Management Authority

“Before the dump-site was transformed into a transfer station, I was able to work along with Mister Jones and the other recyclers through-out those years and it is unfortunate that, through this event, he lost his life; but nevertheless he lost his life by doing a good cause. Mister Elroy Jones was not a trouble man. He was a very good person. He contributed a lot to the programs that we were doing to enhance the life of the recyclers. The thing I must highlight is that when it comes to recycling at the transfer station, all of the recyclers they are very hard working individuals. Mister Elroy Jones was one of those persons, every time we talk, he would say ‘Mister Chim, you know, I di do this fi mi family; every lee copper, every lee dime dah feed mi family.’ So, you know, that is like a brother that I lost.”

 

For Isha Graham and other recyclers, this unfortunate incident is one of the risks of the work they do – and Jones who is a long time recycler was dedicated to his job; for many years it kept it the father of three off the streets and away from problems.

 

Isha Graham

“Right yah he bring all his kidsand show deh weh part deh pan the work. He nuh shame. We nuh same fi say that we di work dah wah Belize garbage site. Because if we go out deh – if we neva meet dis place yah – we mi wah go out deh kill somebody or rob and we nuh wah do that so that is why we come mek wah living right yah dah this place yah.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

In a joint release issued this evening by the organizers of “A Walk for Green Belize,” the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority, the Belize Audubon Society and the Department of the Environment expressed condolences to the family, friends and Mile Three Recyclers. The release states that “Mister Jones, along with other recyclers from Belize City, were engaging in the pickup and loading of garbage bags into a trailer after the annual cleanup of the George Price Highway.” According to the release, Jones was known to them since 2009, when the closure of the old Belize City dumpsite was started. Jones participated in several training sessions including the Occupational Safety and Health and First Aid in 2015. It goes on to say that he was a dedicated recycler and in his own small way contributed to keeping our Belize clean for future generations.

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