Private waste haulers and movers say the May 4 implementation by Government of a $25 tipping fee is really hitting them where it hurts the most –– deep in their pockets.
Dave Hinds, of Hinds Transport, said while the group could not tell Government how and when to impose taxes, these levies should not be designed to put businesses out of operation.
So far, a number of smaller operators have gone out of business.
“It is not our intention to shut down the island; we have to preserve ourselves. We can’t let [the Government] close our businesses by a tax that really doesn’t make any sense,” Hinds argued.
Over the past three days, private haulers who are responsible for collecting most of the island’s garbage, have done little or no work, and are threatening to intensify their action unless the tipping fee is scrapped.
Chairman of the Barbados Private Sector Association, Alex McDonald, who met with the private haulers this morning, said he was concerned that the move could have major ripple effects across the country.
Trevor Manning, managing director of Garbage Master, reiterated that like many others, since the tipping fee took effect on May 4, his business had suffered tremendous losses.
He reported that his business had already paid close to $20,000 in tipping fees and at this rate could only sustain his business for one more week.
“We [collect garbage from] a lot of the hotels, construction sites. So it is a tipping tax that is unfortunate. I am in the same credit bind as the majority and it’s a 60-day window.
“I am not sure at the end of that how much I would be able to recover from these taxes. It puts us in a situation where we will be out of business in two, three months’ time,” Manning said.
The haulers also argued that while many Barbadians might criticize them for not wanting to pay a simple $25, the actual fee was determined by the size of the skip.
The impact of this fee, they say, will have a varying and significant impact on the operating costs within many economic sectors.
“I have a skip that can move 20 tons, and the fee [on that] is way more than what I am being paid for the skip. [It’s $500 in] tipping fee, plus VAT; and to move the skip is probably only $150,” Anderson Cherry, of Jose Y Jose, explained.
Ernest King, of Quality Business Services, representing small players in the private sector, said that just yesterday morning he had bought $10 000 in tipping fee tickets, out of which $9,000 had already been spent.
“. . . Something that I am very concerned about is the environmental impact of the tax. We can talk numbers and we can go into our account receivables, and we can see what is owed and what is due, but how do we put a cost on what will happen as a result of this fee?” King asked.
“At a town hall meeting, the Sanitation Service Authority informed us that they were collecting between ten and 12 ten-wheeler truckloads of illegally dumped garbage. That was when tipping was free. Now, you can do the numbers. What will happen after this?” The collective private haulers group is responsible for 65 per cent of garbage collected in Barbados, which represents 650 tons of the 1,000 tons collected each day.