A backward step!
That’s how prominent businessman Ralph ‘Bizzy’ Williams is describing Government’s recent imposition of a tipping fee, which he says has taken the country back to being a dumping ground.
Williams, who owns the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC) at Vaucluse, St Thomas, said the situation today reminded him of that which existed before his company and B’s Recycling, which is owned by businessman Paul Bynoe, came along and cleaned up the entire country.
He is concerned that with the recent introduction of the tipping fee, which is being levied at $40 per load of waste delivered to SBRC for processing, Barbadians are once again engaging in indiscriminate dumping.
“It don’t seem like in keeping with what the Prime Minister said down in South America about how Barbados was going green. These taxes seem contrary to that statement,” Williams told Barbados TODAY, while pointing out that the tipping fee has had a tremendous impact on the behaviour of Barbadians.
He lamented that while public health officials had been trying to clean up areas in St Lucy, “people dumping indiscriminately all over the island”.
“I think we are going to become a dumping ground just now, just like it was before SBRC opened. It’s only since SBRC opened that the island cleaned up; between SBRC and Paul’s [Bs Recycling]. But now we going backward now,” Williams suggested.
His comments come against the backdrop of a photograph, which is now making the rounds on social media showing a private hauler with his vehicle backed up to a Government-owned Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) truck, as he disposed of his garbage, apparently in an attempt to avoid paying the tipping fee.
Last month at the height of protest action by the Movers and Haulers Group against the fee, members of that organization had warned that environmental and health problems were likely to emerge as a result of indiscriminate dumping.
Spokesman Anderson Cherry of Jose Y Jose had cautioned that the “unaffordability” of the fee would force truckers who would otherwise deliver their waste to SBRC, to dump it illegally.
A management official of the SBRC has since admitted that there has been a significant reduction in the volume of waste delivered to that facility.
He noted that the contract with Government provided for a maximum of 1,000 tonnes per day, but the company was only getting upwards of 400 tonnes from movers and haulers.
However, during last week’s Budget debate, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler told Parliament the tipping fee was here to stay, as he announced a modified version of the controversial levy, which has been set at $40 per tonne, with lower rates for lesser loads. The original fee was set at $25 per tonne.
Today, chairman of the Waste Movers and Haulers Group Charles Read told Barbados TODAY his organization was awaiting word on a meeting with the Minister of Finance to discuss this and other issues affecting the sector.
Read said the language used in the Budget was vague and contradictory and therefore the promised meeting with Sinckler should clear up all of their misgivings.
With regards to the photograph making the rounds on the Internet, he called for the appropriate authorities to carry out an investigation and to hold someone accountable.
“This is wrong, wrong, wrong. Some private body is using public money to their benefit,” said Read, in reference to the private trucker who appeared to be dumping his garbage into the state-owned SSA vehicle.
He said that while their concerns were being worked on by Government, the movers and haulers would continue to comply with requirements to pay the tipping fees as was their moral and legal obligation.
“But we are keen to see what comes out of the consultations [with Minister Sinckler],” Read said.