In the dark
Govt told to give Barbadians the facts about Cahill project
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) wants the Cahill project halted, but whether it is stopped or not the Opposition party remains concerned about money spent, and sums projected for the future.
Addressing party supporters, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley warned that the waste-to-energy project would cost taxpayers over $100 million in each of its first two years of operation. She also estimated that in the long-term it would cost Barbadians million more.
Also speaking at last weekend’s Tyrol Cot meeting, St Joseph Member of Parliament Dale Marshall expressed concern that massive legal fees had already been paid in the consultancy stage of the controversial project, while those paying — Barbadian taxpayers — know little about the project.
“I understand that the total legal fees for the project are $5.8 million,” Marshall said.
The former attorney general also charged that while the state-run Sanitation Services Authority was responsible for Barbados’ waste disposal, the Cahill project had never been seen by the SSA board.
He said members of the board of directors of the SSA had neither had an opportunity to approve it, nor had they met the persons heading the overseas-based Cahill team.
In fact, he said the SSA was “largely ignorant about the entire affair.
“The SSA Board knows about Cahill as much as you do from listening to Mia Mottley in parliament two Tuesdays ago,” Marshall said.
“Seven hundred and fifty million dollars in project falling under the Ministry of the Environment, having to do with our waste disposal, and the agency that is responsible for paying the lawyer the legal fees, their board has not even seen the project yet,” he lamented.
Mottley wants the entire thing halted, and in the least, account be given to Barbadians.
“I say to Prime Minister Stuart tonight, stop Cahill. Stop it now. Give the people of Barbados the facts, and produce the agreements that have been signed in our name.
“I don’t want to hear about waste to energy, this is a waste of energy. Before you spend money at Cave Hill, you want to spend money at Cahill.”
But despite her call for proceedings to be cut short, the Opposition Leader looked down the road at the costs, which she said were documented in a memorandum of understanding Government signed for the project.
“They give away every possible tax concession. Then they turnaround and tell you that the Government of Barbados in this implementation agreement will have to pay from 2018, $132 million in the first year, and by the second year, 2019, the Government will have to pay $180 million.”
Reflecting on a project, that itself stirred controversy under her watch as Attorney General in a previous BLP administration, she said: “They complain about a prison [Dodds] and a payment of $13 million or $14 [million] a year, and they are committing you, the taxpayers of this country, to $132 million in the first year, and $180 million in the second.
“And down to 2048, they end up rising to the number of, three hundred and thirty-something million dollars, out of the annual budget of the Government of Barbados,” Mottley charged.
She said that even if the Government got back money from the sale of electricity, it had to find the cash flow first. “And that money they have committed in your name is in excess of $4.8 billion over the next 30 years.”