Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams has charged that a Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) decision to change maintenance contractors for its fleet of garbage trucks is behind the frequent refuse pile-up across the island.
Addressing a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) St James South branch meeting on Sunday evening, Abrahams also said the decision had also affected the SSA’s ability to debush public areas, as he sought to blame the recent outbreak of chikungunya on the Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe.
“Dennis Lowe presided over the worst epidemic in Barbados in recent times, the whole chikungunya thing,” the Opposition Senator stressed.
He told party faithful at West Terrace Primary School that the mosquito-borne illness “was not a natural health problem” but the result of “the amount of bush and garbage that we had in Barbados last year”.
“Last year Barbados was stink!” he declared.
Abrahams further charged that the issue of garbage build-up and overgrown bush had started when the SSA ran into problems with servicing and maintenance of its vehicles.
He reported that the new company to which the agreement for service given was unable to obtain parts for which the former contractor was the local supply agent.
“So the first company said, ‘Alright, you take our contract. You’re going to have to pay the price we call’,” Abrahams claimed.
He said at that point “the new company [name provided] tried to source the parts from Trinidad,” but, “the Trinidadian firm said, ‘no you need to deal with the agents in Barbados’. They then went trying to source the parts from the manufacturers but the manufacturers said, ‘no, you need to deal with the agents in Barbados’. And because they refused to pay what the agents were asking, that is why all those trucks were parked,” added Abrahams.
He said the problems being experienced at the SSA were not “any mystery”.
“It was a deliberate decision on the part of the Minister, for whatever reason, that resulted in the crippling of the Sanitation Service Authority fleet, and Barbados being plunged into mess and mayhem,” the BLP spokesman charged,
charging that the minister of the Environment was also responsible for last year’s dengue outbreak.
Of a total 35 garbage trucks, about 21 are said to be out on the road, up from 14 at one point last year.