St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde wants B’s Bottle and Metal Recycling plant moved from Reece Road, Cane Garden in her riding, following the latest of three major fires at the recycling facility in five years.
And it appears the plant’s owner is ready to move – once Government points the way.
Forde, the outspoken representative for the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) stronghold who has repeatedly declared that St Thomas is not a dumping ground, told Barbados TODAY that the thick black cloud of smoke emanating from the smouldering dump since the fire broke out last Tuesday is unhealthy for her constituents.
She said: “B’s Bottle does not have permission to operate that business there.
“I am tired. I am angry that that business continues to mushroom in a community where each of those four-acre lots was designated as prime agriculture land where the property owners could only build the one house that they are living in and some of them applied to Town and Country Planning to be able to have their children be accommodated there instead of having to go and search for land, and they were all turned down.
“I laud [Paul] Bynoe for the concept of cleaning our environment.
“It was a novel idea, it was doing very well, but I want it moved from there.
“If it could be taken into an environment where it would not be near to houses and impact on human life then I would want to help him if I could.
“But where it is now it has to go.”
But Bynoe, managing director told Barbados TODAY that he had applied to the Town and Country Planning Office for permission to relocate the facility which he “would like to move today if I get the permission to”.
He said: “That is the third fire down there, the second in the location where it happened last week Tuesday night.
“And of course, the other side of it had burned on March 25th, 2013.”
Forde said: “To this day, the Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Protection Department have not even issued the residents, or even me in my request formally the impact this massive fire in 2013 has had on air quality or how it has impacted the residents downwind.”
Forde said she was fearful that if a fire started in a section where old vehicles were kept, not only residents close to the plant would be affected, but also those in Edgehill Heights, Edgehill Terrace, Shop Hill, Melrose, Arthur Seat and other nearby areas.
Following the 2013 fire, residents had marched against the dumping site in the heart of St Thomas, in addition to writing letters and having community meetings. Forde also noted that residents had also put money together to pay an attorney-at-law to file an injunction, which she said, had not yet been heard.
She said: “You talking five years ago, and not a hearing on a matter as critical as that that is impacting not only on the lives of the people living around it but the rest of Barbados.
“Can you imagine if a fire takes place there today God forbid, where the impact would be on the opposite side?
“The residents have got no compensation, no apology from anybody but us meaning me as Member of Parliament and [Prime Minister Mia Mottley] when she was Opposition Leader and one or two of the former ministers who turned up at the scene.
“Nobody has come back to say to residents the quality of the air, according to the investigations that were done has proven x, y or z, but the Government money has been spent.”