Minister of Environment Dr Denis Lowe today warned that the waste haulers would not be allowed to hold the country to ransom, while indicating that Government intended to stick to the 90-day trial period agreement they made with him last week.
The Minister also said that he had instructed the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) to take care of any idle waste left behind by the protesting truckers.
“I have instructed the SSA to make available our skip services to any of the producers out there who may be having some challenges with having their waste collected. I have also instructed the SSA to, by Sunday, have an ad placed for the purchase of additional skip trucks and skips because this country will not be held hostage by a group who, on the one side of their mouths said they would work with the Government, and on the other side of their mouths said they would protest and disrupt. They want to block traffic and this bullying kind of behaviour. It is not the kind of message that we must send to our society,” he said.
He also promised to deal sternly with any illegal dumping by the private haulers who are now headed into day four of protest action against the controversial $25 tipping fee.
The private garbage haulers are now calling on Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler to meet with them to discuss alternatives.
During an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, prominent players in the industry indicated that while they were protesting the negative impact of the fee, they were ready to suggest favourable methods of financing waste disposal in the country.
The managing director of Jose y Jose, Anderson Cherry, said that since it was not the intention of the haulers to “shut down” the country, their call for a meeting with the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart should be treated as a matter of urgency.
“I really want to invite Minister Sinckler to sit with us. We have some good ideas, and we have something on the table that we know can work.
“The Greening Levy didn’t work; the Solid Waste Tax didn’t work; and this tipping fee just can’t work. Please come and sit with us and hear it from the grassroots side of it; and we can get it fixed,” Cherry pleaded.
The haulers met with members of the Private Sector Association early this morning, and later in the afternoon with the Fair Trading Commission to make an appeal for help in the fight.
A spokesman reported that both meetings were “successful” and the haulers were “looking forward to the outcome”.
In a statement tonight, the BPSA said having been fully apprised of the issues and concerns with regards the recently introduced tipping fee and being aware of the negative impact on the economy, business, homes and the environment, it strongly urges “a return of the parties to dialogue such that the matter can be resolved.
“We further urge that in the meantime the status quo as existed before the impasse be reinstated until such time as a mutually accepted resolution through consultation with all stakeholders is achieved,” the statement said.
Also see: Tipping fee that hurts