The state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) could be the first major casualty of this week’s work stoppage by private waste haulers and movers.
Effective today, the private company responsible for collecting the hospital’s garbage, said it had taken an indefinite decision to stop picking up the QEH’s medical and other waste, as part of stepped-up protest action against the Government’s imposition of a $25 tipping fee.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, Managing Director of Jose y Jose, Anderson Cherry, further revealed that the haulers — who have been selectively handling garbage all week amid protest action, which began on Monday — had now reached the point of telling commercial clients that they could not accommodate them anymore.
“As from today, there is no more movement [of garbage] at the hospital. We are awaiting Government’s decision on this matter,” said Cherry, who is also interim chairman of the Waste Haulers Association.
Following a meeting with members of the Barbados Private Sector Association, he further warned that the matter was now at a very “serious” stage, and that there was every possibility that medical waste would be left to pile up at the main hospital, located on Martindale Road, St Michael.
Cherry said haulers, who were responsible for 65 per cent of the island’s garbage pickups, or 650 tons of the 1,000 tons collected each day, were fully onboard with the stepped up action, aimed at getting the Government to rescind its decision on the highly controversial fee.
However, when contacted today, an official at QEH told Barbados TODAY that Jose y Jose did not inform the hospital of the decision.
In the meantime, Cherry has made it clear that despite the association of Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley with his company, and her meeting with protestors yesterday where she blasted Government’s management of the island’s waste disposal problem, the action was not politically motivated.
“We as a group have come together in the interest of the country. And we want to have this tax removed and we want to see the country going forward and look at different ways of dealing with this problem. There are options out there,” he said, while he and four other operators complained that they simply could not cope with the requirement that the “weight based charge” be paid up front.
In fact, they said after just one week of the fee taking effect, several small operations had collapsed and even the larger ones were finding it difficult to sustain the payments.