One day after business magnate Ralph Bizzy Williams offered to take over the troubled state-owned Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) for $60 million, a leading waste hauler is saying, anybody but Bizzy.
Managing Director of Jose Y Jose Liquid & Solid Waste Management Inc Anderson Fat Child Cherry this afternoon proposed that the Freundel Stuart administration should instead review its existing contract with Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC), which is owned by the Williams Group of Companies.
“I believe Mr Williams has misled the Government in his actions already with SBRC and I strongly urge the Government to look at the contract, because it is not right,” Cherry told Barbados TODAY.
The outspoken waste hauler said although he had been accused of dumping illegally in quarries, SBRC’s contract allows it to dispose garbage in quarries as well.
In addition, he claimed, SBRC was diverting most of the garbage to the sanitary landfill while it was being paid “to tell you where to dump the waste”, and that it had failed to live up to another clause in its contract regarding a digester.
“If you read the document of SBRC contract carefully, it spoke about composting of waste and putting in a digester. And it clearly states in the contract that if he doesn’t put down this anaerobic digestive system which will cost about $35 million, that he would pay the Government $1,000 per month if the plant wasn’t put down,” Cherry contended.
The hauler charged that SBRC’s failure to ease the waste problem suggested that placing the SSA under Williams’ control would not solve the garbage mess and would simply be “putting black business people out of work”.
In any event, he added, Williams already owns enough here.
However, Williams, who has been at odds with Cherry over SBRC for sometime now, this afternoon offered him an olive branch.
Expanding on the SSA takeover proposal he made to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler during yesterday’s Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry business luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, the executive chairman of Williams Industries said if he were successful in getting to run the state-owned garbage collection agency, he would give Cherry and other waste haulers a “piece of the pie”.
“I would get all the haulers involved in it . . . even Cherry, although he bad talks me all the time. I would be happy to involve Cherry in it too. Cherry thinks that I am just in here to rape people. I don’t want to rape people, but Cherry is breaking the law. I cannot support breaking the law,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that he wanted control of SSA to cut the taxpayer’s bill from $70 million per year to about $40 or $50 million.
Williams provided Barbados TODAY with details of his plan, and it suggested that it had been carefully thought through.
The businessman said he would first turn the truck drivers into entrepreneurs.
“I would take all of the trucks of the SSA that collect garbage and I would call a meeting of the staff and the drivers and offer each team that operates a truck to take over and run it as a private hauler. I would divide the island into zones and allocate a particular zone to a particular truck and team,” the head of the Williams Group of Companies revealed.
Once they collect the waste in their respective zones and take it to SBRC, they would be paid by the tonne, Williams said, giving the drivers an incentive to take care of the trucks and to pick up all the garbage.
“In other words, I would democratize it. Instead of the top down, I would go from the bottom up. I would empower all of those people,” he promised, acknowledging that this plan would need the trade unions’ support.
Williams also disclosed that under his proposal, Government would receive 25 per cent of his profits.
The plan today received the backing of Managing Director of Garbage Master Limited Roger Manning, who told Barbados TODAY his company was prepared to invest in any new undertaking that would make the SSA more efficient.
However, he made a case for all local waste haulers to get a “slice of the cake”.
“The system isn’t working at the moment, so we need to get it fixed for the good of the country. So we need to see what the best route is. I think privatizing is the way to go. It’s one less hassle for the Government to deal with. Whether it is Bizzy doing it . . . . I guess probably right now, he is the best person in line to take it over,” Manning, who has been in the business for 25 years, said.
“I would like to be part of the plan . . . . It would be nice to involve all the stakeholders in it,” he stressed.