St. Thomas MP, Cynthia Forde, has defended the then Barbados Labour Party Government’s decision to grant permission to B’s Bottles and Recycling to establish the plant in St. Thomas.
Forde issued this defence yesterday while speaking on a resolution for the acquisition of 16 acres of land at Vaucluse in the same parish for the establishment of a waste-to-energy plant. She stressed that when the permission was granted in 2007 it was felt that it would create employment and earn foreign exchange.
The Opposition MP pointed out that the plant was established on 14 acres of good arable land, but went on to explain that it had prevented neighbours from pursuing their agricultural pursuits.
She added that some of the residents were asking the Town and Country Planning Department for plots of land for their children but were told that the land was to be sold in four-acre agricultural lots. Forde complained that there was no communication between the residents and management of the plant even as the project expanded.
The St. Thomas MP told Parliament that she tried to offer advice to the management of the company but it was rejected.
Forde stressed that when such projects were introduced into a district, management had a responsibility to communicate with the residents. She pointed out that the residents of Cane Garden and Reece Road had been writing to Government agencies expressing concern over the establishment of the recycling plant.
“You now have canisters that contain gas or gas bottles,” she added. “The honourable ministers who visited the site on the night of the fire would have witnessed the explosions. Lead or acid in the batteries, scrap metals and tyres.
“Now in August when I began to speak about the tyres, they were like a mountain. Bush began to grow on the tyres. By the beginning of September scrap metal could be seen on top of the tyres.
“So you could smell the gas, you could smell the hydraulic fluid, you could smell any of those things. When I canvassed the residents at Edghill Heights and Cane Garden they complained of the odours.”
The St. Thomas MP said she felt the pain of the residents who were affected by the fire of March 25. She complained that even residents in districts as far away as Holders Hill, St. James, were affected by the fumes from the fire.(NC)