Southern stink

by Roy R. Morris

The pile up of garbage in some southern sections of Barbados is a direct result of the Sanitation Service Authority being unable to keep an adequate number of trucks on the road.

Sources within the SSA said in recent weeks the number of complaints from members of the public about non-collection of household garbage had jumped significantly, as had the number of trucks in the authority’s repair facility.

Asked to comment on the situation, SSA General Manager Stanton Alleyne told Barbados TODAY he was not aware there was a problem, and if there had been one it would have been drawn to his attention.

However, questioned on whether workers had reported any challenges with the availability of equipment to do their worked, General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, which represents sanitation employees, Dennis Clarke, said just last week he examined a spreadsheet which showed a “clear lack of trucks”.

He said the situation had been monitored by the union under the direction of veteran trade unionist Roslyn Smith, and the data collected showed a constant unavailability of compactor trucks.

“My position is that for all the talk you are hearing from these people they seem not to understand what they are dealing with,” Clarke told Barbados TODAY. “They have done absolutely nothing that I can see to upgrade the fleet. They continually expect workers to operate trucks that are just not fit for the job.”

Meanwhile, environmental sources said crews were turning up for work as early as 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. and by sunrise they still had no idea of what they would operate to clear garbage from the streets.

According to that source, the authority had a fleet of just over 30 trucks, and require 22 or 23 to be on the road daily to adequately service the island. In recent weeks, he added however, the SSA fell short of that number by as many as ten trucks.

“I can say without fear of contradiction that the SSA has had a very hard time servicing the south in recent times,” the source said. “I am talking about St. George, St. Philip and Christ Church in particular.

“In the last two weeks in the south the SSA has been operating with about five trucks and that just can’t work. Anyone who wants to say otherwise should ask the people of Emerald Park, Six Roads, Four Square, Church Village, Gall Hill, Silver Hill, Glen Acres and such places what kind of service they have been getting recently.”

Meanwhile, Clarke admonished authorities to take steps to improve the situation since too often the workers found themselves at the receiving end of the anger of householders, when they had no control over collection frequency.

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