A $100 million waste!
That’s how Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe today described spending by the former Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration on construction of the Greenland Landfill in St Andrew.
Leading off debate on the Sanitation Service Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the House of Assembly, Lowe further charged that the Opposition BLP had been prepared to dump another $149 million into the failed landfill project, which has since been scrapped by the DLP without ever receiving any garbage.
“I sent a team to Greenland about three weeks ago to give me a pictorial example of Greenland now. You would swear that Isis had passed through Greenland. All of the fences are broken down because the posts have fallen. The lights are broken down; everything is a mess,” the Christ Church East MP said, arguing strongly that the Opposition was not in a position to take the Freundel Stuart Government over the “guillotine” for the proposed waste to energy joint venture with the Cahill group of Canada.
In fact, he said it was downright hypocrisy for “the same people who were in the vanguards of that mismanagement and misspending to want to now take the Government to the guillotine only because it has said that it is considering a waste option treatment that is suitable to the country and that will cost the taxpayers no money”.
While contending that a waste-to-energy programme was the way forward for the country, the Minister spoke out strongly in defence of Government’s plans to construct a plasma gasification plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas.
The Christ Church East MP told Parliament that all over Europe and the developed world, policymakers were putting plans in place to rid their countries of landfills and were constructing waste-to-energy plants.
And while suggesting that no member of the House would be willing to accept a landfill in their constituency, Lowe maintained that a waste to energy plant was the best option for the country.
“We cannot establish a landfill in the City. We cannot establish a landfill in Kingsland, Christ Church. The Pulverization Plant in St George has been closed and there can be no further dumping of garbage in Bagatelle, [St Thomas] because of the injunction brought against the Sanitation Service Authority by St James Central [MP], Kerrie Symmonds.
“Where can we establish a landfill, in St Philip North, in St George South? The answer is, ‘no’, because no Member of Parliament wants it for their constituency,” Lowe said.
He also pointed out that the establishment of another landfill at another location would cost a minimum of $31 million, while in the case of the waste to energy plant at Vaucluse, Government “has not spent a cent and is not expected to spend a cent”.
During his over two-hour long presentation, the minister also dismissed claims that the current shortage of SSA trucks began with the current administration, while placing blame squarely on the shoulders of the former BLP Government for refusing to stagger the importation of new vehicles over an extended period.
He also promised new and improved facilities for the SSA staff, including a new building equipped with a 13-vehicle modern mechanic and service bay.