B’s Recycling, facing increased heat from residents threatening court action and lobbying for its relocation from the Cane Garden district they share following major a recent fire, is moving “very shortly”.
Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr. Denis Lowe made the announcement today in the House of Assembly, as he defended the St. Thomas operation which is collecting and exporting an estimated 38 per cent of the island’s solid waste.
The Christ Church East MP, who has been criticised for not speaking on the issue during and since the March 25 blaze, broke his silence while leading off debate on a resolution enabling Government’s purchase of 16 acres of land from Eastern Land Development Limited.
The property at Vaucluse will be used to expand the Mangrove Pond Landfill.
Lowe said “necessary paper work” would be brought to Parliament soon to facilitate the purchase of additional land for recyclers to locate their operations, and hinted that B’s would be one of those journeying there.
Defending the company against what he called “a choir pouncing upon this company and saying ‘yes get out’,” the minister said the company was in fact on its way out of Cane Garden.
“B’s Recycling will be out of there very shortly … because I believe that Government’s role is to find solutions, to make sure that the best possible solutions are engineered and put in place for all recyclers. We are not seeking a solution for B’s, we believe in this industry. This has now emerged as a small business industry that is required,” he told the Lower House when it resumed sittings after Easter recess.
“I have already instructed my people to ensure that they work closely with the relevant authorities to find ready solutions not only for B’s recycling but for any other recycler who may have similar challenges.
“This Government is committed to ensuring that the physical space is created for the purposes of recycling at the same integrated solid waste management site at Vaucluse … and in very short dispatch the necessary paper work will be brought to this House so that we can advance further acquisitions of lands so that recyclers in Barbados can be safely placed out of harms way.
“So that when the latter day saints come out and start to propagate their message that they would not have to be pelted with the kind of rocks that they have been pelted with in recent times,” he added.
Lowe also said Cane Garden residents had legitimate concerns and that “those concerns are being addressed as we speak”.
The official lashed out at the “lot of latter day saints going around trying to give the impression that Government was insensitive to the needs of recyclers and communities where they operate”.
He said he had not spoken on events surrounding the B’s fire before today because the Ministry of Home Affairs was in charge of the incident and also because he preferred to quietly find a solution to the matter from an environmental pointed of view.
“I do not take any pride in any Barbadian household or any community in Barbados struggling with any environmental challenge, but my ministry has experts who go forward and they try to understand by comprehensive assessments what is going on and what is impacting upon the people, or what the likely impact would be,” he stated.
“When I hear people talking about the minister of the environment sitting quietly and ain’t saying nutting … but the remit for managing that fire at B’s was not the Ministry of the Environment it was the Ministry of Home Affairs and I would want to compliment the minister of home affairs and his team for the wonderful job they did in keeping the public informed about what was happening there.
“But the first agency in there was the Environmental Protection Department and I have a report that came back from them within 48 hours,” he said. (SC)