West Bay residents will have to wait at least until next Tuesday (19 July) to find out whether their neighborhood will be buzzing with genetically modified mosquitos, or if the project will bite the dust.
A legal challenge to the MRCU’s plan to release hundreds of thousands of GMO mosquitos may be temporarily on ice due, but the subject is still a hot topic up in West Bay.
“We are comfortable enough with the mosquitos we have, we don’t need any more,” said Mike Gooding.
“If it helps get rid of them that carry the disease, I don’t see a thing wrong with that,” said Kenneth Smith.
The MRCU had planned to release its first batch of GMO aedies aegypti Thursday morning (14 July). The initial 300-acre treatment area falls between Powell-Smith Lane, Watercourse Road, Hell Road, and Reverend Blackman Road.
“I know a lot of people that are panicking, including myself. And I think that that’s the problem. People are getting, afraid of it because they don’t know what could happen if the mosquitos bite humans instead of what they’re supposed to do,” said Emilia Tibbetts.
She told Cayman 27 there hasn’t been enough in the way of community outreach regarding the project.
“Something needs to be done about the mosquitos that are carrying the disease, and if the mosquitos that they’re going to release are going to take care of that problem, they need to do it as quickly as possible,” said Darwin Ebanks, who said he was unaware of the MRCU’s public meeting back in May.
“It’ll cut down on some of them fly by night devils we have down here, these little mosquitos that are eating us up alive,” said Roy Scott.
The majority of those who spoke with Cayman 27 for this report said they would like to learn more about the specifics of the GMO project, but said they are in favor of almost anything that could stop the spread of mosquito borne diseases like Zika.
Another West Bayer, Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush, lives in the heart of the MRCU’s planned release area.
“I asked for a delay and was refused by the Premier, who is the minister responsible for the project,” said Mr. Bush. “There needs to be much more research and info on the GMM before any release is done.”
The Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams, remains hopeful the court will allow the project to proceed
“The deferral in launching the [GMO project] is met upon with concern in relation to our obligation to protect the health, safety, and well being of all residents and visitors alike,” said Dr. Williams.