As St George residents prepare to turn up the heat on waste hauler Anderson Fat Child Cherry over his annoying Lower Estate dumpsite, they are calling on Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) Leader Mia Mottley to lend her voice to their cause.
During a committee meeting on Sunday evening at the Church of God in Salters, St George, residents said they were simply fed up and were preparing to ramp up their protest action against the landfill operator, the landowner and the Government.
Though still contemplating legal action, the residents who met privately with attorney-at-law Gregory Nicholls on Sunday, called on Mottley, who is the representative for St Michael North East, to speak out against their plight.
“There is a rumour that Ms Mottley is a supporter of the business [run by Cherry]. Is Ms Mottley, as Opposition leader, aware of the issue?” one resident asked.
“Following on that point, it is my understanding that the constituency of Hothersal [where the dump is located] and all that area falls under the ambit of Ms Mottley. Can Ms Mottley be part of this, can she bring her voice to bear on this as she has on other pressing issues?” another resident asked, as he reminded the Opposition candidate for St George North Gline Clarke, who chaired Sunday’s meeting, that he was a member of the Mottley-led BLP and should therefore be able to have a conversation with her.
“Tell her the residents would appreciate her input . . . . Right now we are on the slow boat to China and we need the most assistance we can get,” he said.
Clarke responded by telling the residents Mottley was aware of their plight, but sought to make it clear that “she is not part of [Cherry’s] business”.
While careful not to commit Mottley to anything, Clarke told the approximately two-dozen residents at Sunday’s meeting that he was prepared to “work closely” with them to get the area cleaned up.
“We will continue our protest. We will continue to highlight our problem in the press and we will continue to put pressure on the landowner and the guy with the contract [Cherry], and continue putting pressure on Government,” the BLP representative for St George North said, adding that “I can assure you that I will work steadfastly with you to ensure that this problem is solved, [but] we were told today it is not an easy task [and] the business community must be on board to highlight your problems.
“We will continue to put some pressure on the Ministry of Health. I will speak on the issue in and out of Parliament, I can assure you,” Clarke stressed, as he called on churches in the area to also join the fight.
Last December the Ministry of Health issued an abatement notice instructing Project Recycling Limited, the company owned by Cherry, to cease its operations.
The company, which operates the Lower Estate dumpsite, was also ordered to clear the site of all materials within four weeks.
However, Cherry is yet to fully clear the area, which continues to burn and give off a very pungent smell, affecting residents.
“We will not sit by idly and allow this to happen again . . . we will continue to meet with the operator, Mr Cherry. We want to meet with the Ministry of Health, but the residents are saying, if we do not have closure to this problem, we are willing to step up their protest action,” said Clarke.