The waste haulers and waste movers are not backing down until they are granted a meeting with the government and a workable solution is reached.
This was the word from spokesperson for the Waste Haulers group, Charles Read, at a press conference held today at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s (BHTA) offices in Belleville St Michael.
“The protest is still in place but we are moving essential garbage so we don’t hold this country to ransom because that is not our objective.
All we are asking for is a consultation,” he said.
Read said they were calling on the Minister of Environment Dr. Denis Lowe to meet with them as a matter of urgency to resolve the matter of the tipping fee for the benefit of the entire country.
“We want a suspension of the fee and we want to go back to how it was before as a starting position. Then we can sit down and find a methodology that works and does not place businesses in jeopardy of being closed. That’s our starting position. We have a lot of great ideas that we can share with government and I think that’s a discussion that we need to have with government in terms of workable solutions,” Read added.
However Read stressed that the group was not employing a combative approach and was not holding the country to ransom.
“As a show of good faith our group made a decision to address the waste removal needs of medical services, including the hospital, security, and emergency services over a five day period,” he said.
He noted that to date, their efforts to raise awareness about the issue was going well.
“I think we have raised the profile and raised the public awareness and that was a key objective. But the reality is that garbage is smelly and you need to be careful that the public you are trying to appeal to and galvanize does not turn against you,” Read contended.
“In addition we have a responsibility to the country to be responsible in terms of how we manage waste collection, because the effectiveness will start to diminish and that’s why we have taken this decision.
“It’s more about communicating the message. We have raised the awareness we are now trying to explain the impact. We are now trying to explain how it impacts every person in this country. So we have to inform. People can only make a decision when they are informed about what it is that they need to make a decision on,” he added.
The decision by the government to introduce a tipping fee on May 4 has been an issue of grave concern for the Waste Haulers and Waste Movers groups of Barbados. They have subsequently been on strike for the past week. (DB)