While private waste haulers were reporting a smooth start to their garbage collection today under a new outsourcing plan agreed last week with the state-run Sanitation Service Authority (SSA), residents of some St John communities were still complaining about unsightly heaps of waste.
At the same time there were reports that SSA workers were unhappy with the arrangement and that the collectors from the waste collection agency were refusing to work with the private haulers because of concerns over insurance and other terms of the agreement.
Nonetheless, two of the major private operators – Troy Williams and Charles Read – said they were pleased with the way things worked out today.
“I am progressing smoothly . . . I am doing what I supposed to do . . . I am grateful for the work,” Williams, who is managing director of Williams Liquid and Solid Waste Management Inc told Barbados TODAY.
“My team and I working. We working and we clearing the streets of the garbage,” he added.
Williams said his team was responsible for clearing the garbage in St Lucy and St Peter, and he had the full support of the supervisory and management staff of the SSA.
“I doing as instructed. I carrying out the instructions of the Sanitation Service Authority. I have a group . . . and I move a lot of garbage for the day already . . . a lot.”
The Williams executive could not say how much waste his company had collected today, stressing it would only become clear after the rubbish was taken to the Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre (SBRC) at Vaucluse, St Thomas.
It was a similar story from Charles Read, a spokesman for the private haulers. Like Williams, he too reported smooth sailing today.
“They started today and as far as I know everything is running along quite well,” Read said, explaining there was a team each in St Lucy, St Peter, St John and St Philip.
He also told Barbados TODAY the SSA drivers were not working on the private truckers’ vehicles because “we have our own drivers with our trucks”.
However, despite the positive reviews, nothing had changed in parts of St John up until mid-afternoon.
Mounds of garbage could be seen in Gall Hill and Massiah Street, as some residents wondered whether they would be experiencing more of the same, while others reservedly expressed hope that the expanded service would bring relief.
One man whose home was near a pile of garbage which had virtually consumed a bus stop, was not confident that much would change, even with the private sector’s participation in the national garbage collection programme.
“They need to do a better situation there with the garbage. That pile has been there for two weeks now. I really don’t think it is going to improve, but it is still early days and I could still be proven wrong,” the man, who gave his name only as Kellman, told Barbados TODAY.
“Look at that big nasty rubbish heap,” lamented another man while pointing to another mountain of waste which covered a roadside embankment.
“People does leave from down bottom and bring their garbage up there. Down by them must smell good while we up top must suffer. Whenever the truck come and move that pile, one hour after the pile come back,” he added.
Meantime, a woman who asked that she not to be named, said all that was required for people to stop dumping refuse at the roadside was regular garbage collection.
The SSA and the private truckers agreed the plan last week to improve the island’s waste collection during a high-level meeting between the waste collection agency and representatives of private haulers.
According to sources familiar with the arrangement, the SSA’s decision to outsource some of its garbage collection to the private haulers stemmed from a directive issued by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to the SSA to meet with the haulers and to come up with a plan.
SSA Manager Roslyn Knight could not be reached for comment on the launch of the programme.