Cahill exec gets rowdy reception
Barbadians soundly rejected the proposed plasma gasification waste-to-energy plant earmarked for Vaucluse, St. Thomas, at a “Cahill Open House” public meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre last night.
A four-man team from the developers, Cahill Energy, led by Chief Executive Officer Clare Cowan, were roundly boed, heckled and ridiculed as they sought to clear the air on the controversial $700 million project, which they attempted to present as a necessary and environmentally-friendly enterprise.
The jeering began when the organizers made it clear that they would only accept written questions, and continued as they avoided many of the attendees’ queries, insisting they did not have answers to many of the questions.
In one case, Cowan angered the hundreds of people present when she asserted that Barbadians already lived with dangerous Bunker C fuel emissions, the heavy residual fuels used aboard vessels.
“When you go behind the buses in Barbados, there is this black billowing smoke that comes out. And that’s what Bunker C fuel is,” the CEO said in response to a question on the danger posed to people and the environment by burnt Bunker C fuel emissions from the Barbados Power and Light company, compared to that to be discharged by the proposed waste-to-energy company.
Her response sparked derision and laughter, prompting her colleague, Mohammed Ali, to come to her assistance and explained that the buses use diesel.
Cowan began the night’s proceedings by stating that the meeting was called so the Cahill Energy principals could tell their side of the story.
“The thing that I am concerned about is how much misinformation that is going on right now. It is very organised, and we simply want to tell you the facts and the truth,” she said.
However, there were no answers to questions about the amount of water the plant would require, penalties that would be imposed on Government should the project fail to proceed, or tax write-offs for the company, referring attendees to their elected representatives.
The CEO also refused to discuss the agreement signed with Government, contending that privacy was a norm in such deals, but suggesting that the information was already public.
“You have all read the agreement,” she said, in apparent reference to information about the agreement that circulated on social media. “You’ve all read it anyway. You’ve all seen it.”