Any solutions arrived at in relation to waste management in Barbados will not be taken by stealth or under the cover of night.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart gave Barbadians this assurance last night while addressing the monthly meeting of the St James South constituency branch of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Addressing the highly controversial issue of the Cahill waste-to-energy project, the Prime Minister described protests by the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and other critics of the proposed plant as “incoherent noises” and assured the country that the matter would be dealt with in the open.
“You are hearing a lot of incoherent noises on this issue. I speak to you tonight as the Prime Minister of Barbados. Do not get worried about it because nothing on this issue is going to happen under the cover of night. Just take it easy,” the Prime Minister said.
“We will engage the population and we are not going to take any decisions that are inimical to the best interest of Barbadians. We are not going to take any decisions unless we can say that we have benefited from the best possible advice.”
He said that no decisions had been taken on this issue, insisting that as a result there was no need for alarm. He promised to engage the public at the appropriate time.
“When the time has come for me to speak on this issue and engage the population, I will address you. You cannot put down a plant in Barbados unless you have land on which to put it. If the Government is going to be involved, the land has to be acquired and it has to be debated in Parliament. There has to be a full debate on the land acquisition and since the land would have to be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act for a public purpose, you have to say what the public purpose is,” the Prime Minister explained.
Stuart, who is responsible for the Town Planning department, told the audience that it is the Chief Town Planner who recommends approval or disapproval for the construction of buildings and the Prime Minister has the final say.
“Do not let anyone confuse you. If we get to that stage, the population is going to be fully engaged. We cannot turn a blind eye to the serious garbage situation we have around Barbados. We have to ensure that we wrestle this problem to the ground,” he said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister told the DLP faithful that Barbados now generates more waste than at any other time in its entire history.
“We could not generate much waste in the early 1960s because life in Barbados was very basic. It was a country of chattel houses and one door shops around the country. In fact, we did not know about a plastic bag. We used some brown paper or old newspapers at the village shop,” he said.
“However, because of the sophistication of our lives today and the pieces of technology we use today, there has been a significant increase in the volume of waste generated across the country. Under these circumstances, the Government has to look at several options for the management of solid waste,” Stuart concluded.
Environmentalists, alternative energy proponents, and residents have objected to the plasma gasification plant earmarked for Vaucluse, St Thomas, saying it posed a number of social and environmental threats. (NC)