MRCU methods revert but no news on inquiry

| 15/09/2020 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service
MRCU spray plane

(CNS): Minister Dwayne Seymour has made no further comment about complaints made by staff at the Mosquito Research and Control Unit that the director was undermining the work of the critical department. But the minister responsible for the MRCU has revealed that efforts to combat the pest have reverted to tried and tested methods. Seymour said the inquiry into concerns about Dr Jim McNelly was a matter for the civil service.

Seymour told the public at the COVID-19 press briefing last week that the MRCU was once again treating the native black salt marsh mosquito larvae directly in the swamp to curtail the proliferation of that once well-controlled biting insect.

He said that “some of the methods that we used to use before” had been paused. “What we need to know about the larviciding is that if you see an airplane go up in the air, it means we have failed,” the minister said, implying that because the per-season pellet drops in the ponds had not happened this year, apparently as a result of a call by the director, the planes were now having to spray adult insects on a far more regular basis.

But Seymour said there had been discussions involving the ministry, the MRCU and the Governor’s Office and things had reverted to the previous successful methods. “I think some of the things that we used to do that were working that were paused have started back again,” he said in response to CNS questions.

In his general update the minister said that both of the MRCU’s two planes are flying almost continually, all the fog trucks are out daily and staff are spraying yards regularly to keep the more dangerous Aedes aegypti numbers down as well.

CNS contacted the ministry staff directly last week following Seymour’s comments that he “did not really know what had happened to the investigation” at the MRCU and that it was a civil service matter. However, we have not received any response about the inquiry.

McNelly had been accused by a significant number of his staff of not only stopping the successful swamp programmes but using ineffective and possibly toxic chemicals, as well as redeploying staff to monitoring work and away from controlling the Aedes aegypti. The letter was sent to the ministry in July, and in August Acting Chief Officer Nellie Pouchie revealed the existence of the investigation while answering questions in Finance Committee.

For details of the MRCU’s daily operations visit its Facebook page.

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Comments (33)

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  1. Flit Fun says:

    So if we are to believe the official and unofficial explanations: 1. MRCU has for the past two years, coinciding with the arrival of the current Director, not followed tried and tested procedures that have been known to work since the advent of mosquito control in the 60s; 2. Having at last acknowledged the failure of the “new” approach, MRCU has reverted to the old procedures; 3. Either the current Director is responsible for the change in approach or some other unidentified senior employee at MRCU is working behind the scenes to disrupt the Unit; 4. The resident population must simply accept this disastrous situation while the orchestrators of the debacle are allowed to remain in their positions without fear of censure or sanction.

    Someone in Govt needs to take charge of this mess before the next rainy season. Please. Governor?Deputy Governor? Someone? Anyone? Hello?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cayman islands are paying them a lot of money for very little in the way of work. But I guess if I thought my real Boss was God and not those paying me I would also think I got it made in the shade.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not that I’m sure but the smaller mosquitoes are likely aedes aegypti. Google?

  4. Don Key says:

    More like he does really not know what happens about anything. He cannot answer any questions at the press briefings unless it’s specically mentioned in the script prepared for him.Too many carrots in his “diet”.

  5. Donkey Hide says:

    Nothing to see here folks. Just your normal Cayman Islands Government cover up.

    The bitings will continue. Everyone needs to grow a thick skin.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is an horrific price to pay to live in “Paradise”.
    Sprayed with chemicals that nobody really seems to understand. Cancer rates per capita off the chart, rubbish piled high to the sky, traffic up to the wazoo, food prices five times higher than the USA, dirty gasoline at least at the same markup.
    Internet that is at least 10 times developed countries and way below what is paid for. Telephony that is unreliable and God help you if you happen to be roaming in a developed country.

    Electricity prices at a premium all while creating a massive carbon footprint, incompetent governance both at the national and colonial level, corruption rife in the halls of power.
    Nasty water full of chlorine/fluorides being passed off as drinkable and sold for 10 times what it is worth manufactured by polluting diesel engines.
    A government pretending to embrace green, but make it virtually impossible to go off the grid. 22% import duties on crap just to pay the wages of a bloated, lazy and corrupt government.

    A judicial system that throws out more cases than it convicts based on police incompetence and shoddy evidence handling.
    Schools that turn out the majority of students who can barely string a sentence together.
    But, if you are a member of the in-crowd and go to the “special” meetings, you can live like a lord while the rest of us have a six pack at Governor’s beach wondering if we will have a job next week.
    Damn, I love Paradise.

    I would like to personally thank the recent Governors and their elected officials for the progressive society that I am so thankful to be a part of. Without their efforts, so many civil servants would not even have a job today.

    It is refreshing to see the current bunch picking up where the previous hard-working individuals left off. Can you believe that my visa application for Zimbabwe was turned down?

    • Anonymous says:

      Some reasonable points, worthy of serious discussion, spoiled by a juvenile sarcastic tone. And by the way, no one sensible calls Cayman or anywhere else Paradise. Everywhere has its pluses and minuses.

    • Anonymous says:

      If everything is wrong here, all you have to do is go somewhere else.

      • Anonymous says:

        Everything does not have to be wrong, but if your “wrongness” adds to your elitist attitude, then you are not a person with a solution.
        We will move on.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hate when people say that… it’s the equivalent of burying your head in your ass.

      • Anonymous says:

        I believe we should send CIG somewhere else. When do we vote again???

    • Anonymous says:

      Damn…. you have several bricks on your shoulder… I called Ian Smith…. your resident visa for Rhodesia is coming right up!

      • Anonymous says:

        Rhodesia? This country only ever existed in the minds of a small white supremacist minority. Led by known racist Ian Smith with the motto “A Whiter Brighter Rhodesia”. Smith refused to ever apologise for atrocities committed while he held office. He said he had no regrets about the estimated 30,000 Zimbabweans killed during his rule. ‘The more we killed, the happier we were’. During the resulting Bush war the white minority used chemical weapons in the form of food and medicines contaminated with organophosphate insecticides to kill innocent civilians. When it became obvious that the Black majority would eventually win the war and the right to vote many “Rhodesia” whites fled to other countries. Although they changed their country their racist beliefs were maintained. I have heard of one particularly nasty whote Zimbabwean who refers to co-workers as “pissing dog”s and apes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jeez you perfectly summed up what i5 wr0n5 w1th th15 Babylon sy5t3m.

  7. Unhappy says:

    What kind of mosquitos are the tiny black ones? I’m being bitten by them more than anything else.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So now, if Dr. McNelly’s “new” approach of cutting back treatments and using even more unsafe chemicals – seemingly impacting two fundamental mosquito control methods – have reverted to decades-old proven methods what does that say about his judgement, leadership and fitness for the job? Surely his leadership skills and perhaps his professional abilities, have now been called into question. In most organizations, that would require resignation, at least!

    Methinks he should be traded back to Florida for Dr. Petrie.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Petrie chose to leave. Why would he come back to a toxic work place (colleagues stabbing you in the back)?

      • Anonymous says:

        You have it right on the proboscis 10.40 although singular ‘colleague’ might be more accurate.

    • Anonymous says:

      They didnt like him either. Remember the uproar about the genetically modified mosquitoes. I see they are now introducing them in Florida. Hard bunch to please here.

  9. Cheese Face says:

    Does anyone pay attention to what Minister Dwayne Seymour has to say anyway?

  10. Kim says:

    Whatever is being done now works! Keep it up.

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