Opposition Barbados Labour Party Senator Wilfred Abrahams today demanded answers from Government on a number of waste-related issues, including garbage disposal, the new Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) building and repairs to garbage trucks.
In his contribution this morning to the debate on the Sanitation Service Authority (Amendment) Bill 2016, Abrahams argued that the country had been facing a garbage crisis for the pass eight years and the Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe who has responsibility for the SSA must outline his plans to rectify the situation.
“It is unacceptable, entirely unacceptable that we are operating with a working fleet on the road regularly of seven to ten [garbage] trucks,” he said, questioning why “the repair for the Sanitation Services trucks was subcontracted out” to a private company.
“It is now up to the minister to answer the question. Explain, Mister Minister, why you pulled the contract from who previously did it and gave the contract for the repairs to Transtec. Explain, why the facility in the Pine is no longer adequate or sufficient for the repair of the Service Authority truck. Explain, what is the problem with getting the trucks repaired. Explain, Mister Minister, enough people have asked, explain, what is the arrangement between yourself and Transtec for the vehicle that you drive. I personally would like an explanation,” Abrahams said.
The attorney-at-law also sought answers to questions surrounding the construction of the new SSA headquarters at Vaucluse, St Thomas, when the department was in need of a proper working fleet.
“This was on land that was zone for landfill purposes. Was a change of use properly obtained to allow the construction of the five storey building in Vaucluse? Is it proper to put those offices in the middle of a landfill or bordering a landfill or lands zoned for a landfill? Could that building have not been constructed somewhere else? Was it necessary to construct that building at all now? What is more important, the purchase of new trucks or the construction of a building?” he queried.
The BLP candidate for Christ Church East also wanted to know what the arrangements were for the privatization or subcontracting of the collection of garbage.
“What is the arrangement for the person doing the collection on behalf of the Government? Was it put out to tender? I am tired of arrangements that are made out in secrecy . . . we need to know, the public needs to know.”
He demanded that Government come clean on the controversial Cahill waste-to-energy project and called for the removal of the tipping fee.
“The Government of Barbados needs to tells us what its plans are, if it expects the people of Barbados to work with it. The Minister of the Environment needs to say what his plans are for the Sanitation Service Authority. When will the new trucks come? Are they coming? Is the garbage collection problem in Barbados being looked at? Has it been looked at? What are the results?
“The time for silence has now passed entirely; it is now time for dialogue between the Government of Barbados and the people that it represents,” he said. (FW)