“ Criminal” and “ridiculous”, were just some of the words used by Minister of Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod today as he could hardly contain his disgust at an unsightly garbage heap dumped at President Kennedy Drive, St Michael.
He vowed that those responsible would pay.
Just three days after a crew from the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) cleaned up the community, unknown culprits transformed the area into what could be descibed as a landfill.
As much as two truckloads of galvanised sheets, windows, old cans, trees and bags of garbage were strewn on the roadside, marring the thoroughfare.
“I am of the opinion that this cannot be a normal human being that bring this here, it is almost impossible that you can come into a densely populated urban Barbados, throw all of this waste at the back of somebody’s premises as well as on the front road in this community and have no regard for how offensive it is, no regard for how it much damages the property,” the Minister said.
As Prescod surveyed the area with SSA spokesman Carl Alff Padmore and other personnel, he insisted that the illegal dumping was unnecessary since there was no longer a tipping fee at the landfill for the disposal of waste.
But as he branded the culprit as “unenlightened”, the Minister’s contempt quickly escalated as he described the violation as “criminal” and declared that an investigation would be mounted to ensure the offenders would face the full force of the law.
Prescod said: “This is equivalent to being criminal, this is offensive to the state, offensive to the individuals within the community, it is not only a civil matter of putting waste on people’s private property but it goes beyond that to becoming a criminal offence.
“We have to find out exactly who brought this here and as long as I find out who is the person and the SSA finds out who is the person that dump this waste here we are going to take the most severe form of action in order to make sure that these people are penalized for this kind of behaviour. It has to be deterred one way or the other.”
He served notice that his ministry would be moving swiftly to put a mechanism in place to arrest the problem of illegal dumping.
“I won’t say what it is going to be but I am going to give you the assurance that whatever we put in place that on the next occasion we will be able to identify exactly who brought it here, what type of truck it is and hopefully the number of the truck and the individual that driving the truck,” he said, while not ruling out the use of cameras.
Prescod, who further suggested that right-thinking Barbadians would agree that the act was “ridiculous”, at a time when the island was dealing with a public health crisis, noted it also came on the eve of the launch of an intensive national clean-up campaign ahead of the June 1 start of the hurricane season.
He said: “The entire staff of the NCC [National Conservation Commission], the staff of the SSA and the staff of the Drainage Unit, all of these will be in full force from Monday morning, all across Barbados, making sure this cleaning programme is carried out nationwide so that we can prepare ourselves for the hurricane season.
“And I would expect any civil individual to take all of these things into consideration because we are protecting the health of people.”
He urged Barbadians to co-operate with the sanitation authority to do all they can to transform the island into one of the cleanest in the Eastern Caribbean.