Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams today rubbished Government’s plan to clear garbage pile-ups across the island, while renewing his call for Minister of the Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe to step down.
The minister announced Monday that his ministry had reactivated emergency response teams, which included the Ministry of Transport and Works, the National Conservation Commission and the Drainage Division to assist with the collection of refuse.
But Abrahams, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Shadow Minister for the Environment, had raised strong objections to the move, insisting that Lowe should never have to resort to an emergency plan to deal with the current situation.
“We object to this new measure. We object because it reflects poor planning, it reflects badly on the workers of the SSA [Sanitation Service Authority] as it paints them as being lazy and inefficient,” Abrahams said in a letter to Barbados TODAY.
The Opposition senator further charged that given recent decisions by the minister, including the renting of “tractors to the tune of 23 thousand dollars per week and tens of thousands of dollars for servicing of SSA vehicles”, questions had to be raised regarding “the beneficiary of the largess” of the emergency plan, as well as which companies would not have to bid for contracts for “helping the SSA out”.
The senator was adamant that Lowe, who admitted yesterday there was a shortage of vehicles to collect garbage, “should have purchased the new trucks years ago”, describing as “nonsense” the minister’s claim that the process of purchasing was protracted.
Abrahams, who charged a week ago that 15 new garbage trucks were in the island as part of a planned outsourcing of the services provided by the state-run SSA, appeared not willing to accept Lowe’s denial that a new fleet of vehicles which is reportedly in the Bridgetown Port did not belong to the authority.
“Lo and behold, 15 new trucks are in the Port with seemingly no one knowing to whom they belong, but looking very much like they have arrived just in time to help with a problem – in fact they would be ready to help in an ‘emergency plan,’” he wrote.
The BLP spokesman added that Lowe was now “ well placed to resign his ministry”, insisting the island could not afford the minister’s “incompetence”.