Metal toilets suitable for a mental institution are currently being sourced by the Public Works Department (PWD), according to the Minister, Lennox Weston.
His response came after staff at Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital recently complained that, because patients had apparently been repeatedly breaking the ceramic toilet bowls, the PWD had instead installed pit latrines.
Last week, Shop Steward Ava Bowen said the concrete latrines, fitted over the space where the traditional toilets had been, had caused a fly infestation and a pungent odour in the bathrooms.
Speaking to Observer yesterday, Weston said he had been advised that metal toilets bolted to the ground, thereby rendering them indestructible, would be a better solution.
“It is just for us to bring in the institutionally-appropriate metal toilets. We will continue to use the traditional toilet until they arrive. They are expensive, they tell me, but that is required for those institutions,” he said in an interview.
He acknowledged staff’s concerns about the latrines.
“I understand it was a cement latrine where it was difficult to retrieve and control the waste. If they had, maybe, done a cement water closet, then that would have been more effective,” Weston admitted.
Meanwhile, practicing psychotherapist Dr Oswald Thomas has recommended a board be set up to address prolonged issues at the psychiatric hospital where staff have long complained about poor working conditions.
“Maybe it is time that a board controls Clarevue Hospital. It is obvious that the authorities that are at Clarevue had no input on these toilets and, if they do, then they lack what it needs in terms of a mental institution,” Dr Thomas stated.
He further suggested the mental hospital be moved to another location, such as the compound of the former Holberton Hospital, to adequately meet the needs of both patients and staff.