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Opposition wants minister to account for SSA situation

As garbage piles grow higher while the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) struggles to resume normal collection, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) has described the state of affairs as catastrophic and a result of “gross negligence” and “complete mismanagement”.

And the Opposition has called on Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe to “come clean” and give account to the people of Barbados for the situation at the statutory board.

Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe

Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe

In a statement issued today, Shadow Minister of the Environment Senator Wilfred Abrahams said while the plight of the SSA was not a new one it had now reached “an all time low.”

Abrahams’ comments came after reports surfaced that less than a year after a fleet of vehicles was unveiled to supplement those already in operation, many of the trucks had broken down.

“The main issue appears to be the breakdown of the . . . pumps which control the hydraulics in the smaller Nissan trucks, and the burnout of the clutches of the larger Mitsubishi trucks, both symptoms of overwork,” he said.

Abrahams charged that, based on reports, having one truck per parish was nowhere near adequate for the task of islandwide collection.

“Most areas in Barbados have been plagued by inconsistent scheduling of collections and with garbage piling up all over Barbados it seems that the only way to ensure collection is to highlight the problem in a specific area and appeal to the minister in the Press. Along with the pile up of garbage have been the reports of a visible increase in the rodent population across the island,” he said.

Abrahams cautioned that the health of Barbadians was at risk as a result of the continuing inability and failure of the SSA to properly discharge its duties.

“This crisis of collection presents a real and serious threat to the safety of our nation and has the potential for the outbreak of an epidemic which our public health care system is woefully ill-equipped to handle,” He charged.

“Minister Lowe needs to come clean and tell the truth about the situation at the SSA. The health of our country is at risk and the nature of the situation demands ministerial accountability.

Abrahams has raised a number of questions he said only Minister Lowe could answer.

“In November last year the minister reported that a strategy had been put in place to further expand the capacity of vehicles needed by the Sanitation Service Authority. This begs the question, what is this strategy and where are its results? Illegal dumping is again on the rise and the country is crying out.

“Were all the vehicles presented to the public by Minister Lowe on November 13, 2013 actually new vehicles? What is the average lifespan of these vehicles and why isn’t the minister prepared for this turn of events? Why is 75 per cent of the fleet of SSA trucks out of commission and what are the present arrangements for repairing broken down vehicles? Who has the contract for repairing the SSA vehicles? What is the Minister’s plan to resolve this serious issue?” the BLP senator questioned.


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