The proposed Cahill waste-to-energy plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas will spell doom for many Black enterprises, one of the island’s recyclers warned today.
“I really think he [Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe] is putting a lot of Black businesses out of business, including myself, with the Cahill issue,” said Anderson Cherry, chief executive officer of Jose Y Jose Liquid, Solid Waste Management Inc and Project Recycle.
He also identified three other recycling businesses, B’s Recycling, Ace Recycling Barbados Limited and Scrap Man, among those that were likely to fold, stressing, “with a gasification plant, all of us are going to be out of business; and I think it is wrong.
“I don’t think the island is ready for it. I think the island is ready for recycling; that is why I gone ahead with Project Recycle,” Cherry told Barbados TODAY.
His comments came in response to those made by the Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe, in piloting the Sanitation Service Authority Amendment Bill 2015 in the House of Assembly today.
In leading off debate on the measure, Lowe stoutly defended plans for the construction of a plasma gasification plant in conjunction with Cahill Energy of Canada, while insisting that waste-to-energy was the way to go.
Lowe also served notice that Government intends to be guided by “the polluter pays principle”, while singling out Cherry, whose recycling operation is the only one that has been deemed illegal by the Town & Country Planning Department, for reprimand.
Without calling Cherry by name, the minister, in an obvious reference said, “there is one particular waste hauler who at the initial meetings on the discussion of the tipping fee said to the small waste haulers, ‘well, you guys might suffer, but I gine make money’”.
Lowe also charged that Cherry had “crept into an extremely dangerous domain, because he is now in full violation of the law”. And the minister warned that he had given instructions to the state-run SSA to “wherever they can act to bring [Cherry] back in line with the Act to do so.
“I know that the Ministry of Health is doing the same and I know that the Chief Town Planning Department is doing the same thing . . . because the same individual, among others, is now charging people more than what the Government is charging for a tipping fee. And they [are] charging individual householders, and then rather than paying the fee at the landfill, they going and they dumping the [waste] on other sites,” Lowe claimed.
Insisting that those who break the law should be made to pay, the minister said: “It is a kind of a bullying, vagabondish (sic) disposition that if it is not done my way, then I will do it my way”, adding, “You cannot just handle waste in Barbados, because they are waste handling standards governed by the Ministry of Health and the Health Services Act. You just can’t go out and play that you is a big bad John and decide that you are going to do whatever you want to do. It doesn’t work like that,” Lowe warned.
However, in response, Cherry told Barbados TODAY that the problems which are currently being encountered as a result of the tipping fee implementation could have been avoided and he had told Lowe as much.
“We sat with the good minister and we told the good minister the problems that would occur. We explained to them when we were striking . . . and everything that I told them has come to pass.
“This could have been avoided. I don’t understand why the minister is [now] making a hullaballoo and trying to fool the country and trying to tell them a bunch of foolishness,” the private waste hauler said.
Cherry also defended his recycling operations at Lears Quarry, St Michael saying: “I’m not breaking the law in any way. I am a law-abiding citizen and everything that I’m doing is within the law.
Furthermore, he said: “I think the minister knows that . . . I think he was targeting me when he saying that he has instructed every single ministry to go and look at wuh dis man is doing.”
Meanwhile, chairman of the Waste Haulers Group Charles Read is backing moves by Government to weed out illegal dumping.
“In terms of making illegal dumpers pay to clean up, I think that is good. If you are illegally dumping you should have to clean it up, clean up your mess,” Read told Barbados TODAY.
However, when asked about Government’s plans to press ahead with waste-to-energy, Read said he knew very little about the Cahill project and therefore could not give an informed comment.