About half of a promised fleet of second-hand Sanitation Service Authority trucks are on their way to Barbados, Minister of the Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod has disclosed.
Seven of the 15 Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) trucks along with a landfill tractor will be in the island next month, Prescod said this afternoon.
“We were bringing in 15 . . . . Seven should be in sometime next month. We are also going to be bringing in a D9 compactor as well . . . . That would be equivalent to the one now seen at Mangrove [Pond Landfill], said Prescod on the sidelines of a scholarship and awards presentation in celebration of International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC).
Until the compactor lands in Barbados, the SSA is expected to continue renting a private contractor’s machine.
The compactor will replace “the controversial one which the general public was talking about how much money we were paying for that equipment, but we had no alternative in the circumstances,” the environment minister told journalists.
Recalling last month’s incident in which a top official of local automotive dealer Courtesy Garage had been turning up at every meeting in Europe of a Government team looking for SSA trucks, Prescod said neither Prime Minister Mottley nor he wanted anything to go wrong this time around. The Prime Minister had ordered the team to abandon the trip and return to Barbados after the reported mysterious coincidence.
“We are going to have some trucks here. I am going to put it this way. The first occasion, there was a little ‘cloudy weather’ at that time. We had to examine what was happening carefully. We are in a fairly good position now and I don’t want anything to occur . . . the Prime Minister doesn’t want anything to occur that would be interpreted the wrong way, and we have to make a firm decision on that,” he said.
As the much-touted national clean-up campaign starts in Brittons Hill, St Michael on Saturday, he disclosed that officials of his ministry have so far identified 30 derelict vehicles in that district alone to be removed.
“Obviously we would have to have the required equipment to move those vehicles. Those vehicles will go up to Mangrove…. they will go up to Scrapman (recycling agent). It’s a private company,” the minister said.
The firm is to compress the vehicles into blocks and export them to be reprocessed. He noted that the private recycler’s export quota would be boosted considering that it has to maintain a minimum supply for its overseas client.
Prescod also said that he and the other three MPs whose constituencies surround Brittons Hill are to tour the community to sensitize residents about their responsibility to help with the clean-up.
“We will be working inside the Brittons Hill area and we will be trying to encourage and enlighten people on why this is an important exercise; and it coincides with the present climate…conditions in
Barbados,” he stated.
Prescod also told reporters of his dissatisfaction with the completion of the new headquarters of the SSA at Vaucluse in St Thomas.
“When I visited the SSA headquarters at Vaucluse, I was a little dissatisfied with the completion of the work or what was perceived as the completion of the work,” the Environment Minister said, adding that the floor was covered by carpet which he considered not environmentally friendly.
“I don’t believe I should have a new building at Vaucluse with four floors covered in carpet occupied by the staff of the Sanitation department. I had to look to see how we can talk to the workers, look to see how we can put in place an intensive industrial cleaning programme or look to see if we can get the carpet removed and replaced by tiles. We are in that transition period at present,” he disclosed, noting that “those little things in a modern time” have to be considered.
He was concerned that the very ministry which should set the right environmental example, could be accused of breaching high standards.
He also thought that electric vehicles for use by the SSA should have been included in the arrangement for the construction of the headquarters.