I Object!

retired diplomat wants Cahill project scrapped

One day after a senior Government official cast doubt on the future of the Cahill Energy waste to energy project, a former diplomat said the “hideously expensive” venture should be scrapped altogether.

The Government official, who spoke to Barbados TODAY last evening on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said the future of the controversial plant was hanging in the air.

In fact, he revealed at the time that if there were to be a plasma gasification plant in Barbados, Cahill Energy would not be involved.

“If there is a plasma gasification plant it will not be with Cahill . . . I don’t know if that project is going ahead and certainly not with her [Cahill Chief Executive Officer Clare Cowan],” the official said, while complaining that the investor had become the subject of controversy.

The official however maintained that the door remained open for a waste-to-energy project, since key Government officials were firmly of the view that this was the “cleanest” energy around.

But Peter Laurie, who has launched a community recycling programme, today objected to the proposed gasification plant, arguing that it was an expensive waste management method that the country could ill afford.

Peter Laurie says recycling is one of many solutions to Barbados’ multi-million dollar garbage disposal problem.
Peter Laurie says recycling is one of many solutions to Barbados’ multi-million dollar garbage disposal problem.

“From what I have read about it, it is going to be hideously expensive and I don’t think that all the environmental aspects of it have been thought through very carefully. So I am a little worried that we are going with a high tech solution when we have other solutions available,” Laurie said of the highly criticized project.

The waste-to-energy scheme faced stiff resistance from Barbadians since Opposition Leader Mia Mottley laid bare in Parliament last March the perceived sordid details of the waste project, with concerns being raised about its cost and possible environmental impact.

A now closed Facebook group of persons opposed to the project attracted 8,605 members from a wide cross-section of the society, including environmentalists, journalists, students and lawyers.

The project, which was carded to be constructed in Vaucluse, St Thomas, was placed in the spotlight again yesterday after it emerged that the Pennsylvania, USA-headquartered international corporation Air Products was quitting the waste-to-energy sector and off-loading its two trouble hit 50 megawatt plasma gasification plants in Teesside, North East England.

In a brief interview with Barbados TODAY from Toronto, Canada last night, Cowan refused to confirm reports that the planned $700 million plasma gasification plant here had been cancelled.

Still, news of its possible demise was met with relief by some of its opponents in Barbados.

“Woo hoo,” exclaimed one person who uses the Facebook moniker Santini Moore in reaction to the Barbados TODAY story. “Lets face it folks the Cahill death plant deal stank of corrupt and arrogant Government practices. We should all be grateful it died an early death. Now heads should roll for those Government Ministers involved in associating our country with this debacle.”

“Good riddance,” added poster Kenrick Purcell, while another poster, Arthur Collymore wrote: “While our hearts rejoice, there are some among us who cringe at the thought that Cahill may not now become the vehicle that drives their enormous bank balances further up the hill.”

While the future of waste-to-energy remains in the air, Laurie today proposed recycling as a significantly less expensive means of waste management.

About six weeks ago, the retired Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and two of his neighbours implemented a recycling system in their community, providing four drums – one each for plastic, papers, metal and glass.

He said each drum along with the cover cost only $5 and since the system was implemented he has been able to reduce his garbage to the landfill by about 90 per cent.

“It is a huge success for us in terms of our garbage footprint,” Laurie told Barbados TODAY.

“It is doable and I think the more we do this across Barbados and reduce the amount going to the dump the less we will need looking at expensive and technologically perhaps dangerous solutions for garbage disposals. It is very doable and for the organic waste I have a compost heap so that goes there.”

The former diplomat acknowledged that recycling was just one of many solutions to Barbados’ multi-million dollar garbage disposal problem.   

He also said that it would require a lot of education and effort to get Barbadians used to the practice of separating their garbage.

“Because in a household the easiest thing is that there is a garbage [bin] under the sink and you go and put all your waste under the sink. So it will take some rethinking of attitude to get people accustomed to sorting, but once you get it, it is the easiest thing in the world,” he said.


9 Responses to I Object!

  1. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore April 8, 2016 at 1:22 am

    Let us now turn our attention to the issue of recycling, by far the best way to collect & dispose of our waste. Give Mr Anderson Cherry a chance to execute the workable plan he demonstrated to the nation to recycle our garbage while earning valuable foreign exchange in the process. Put side therefore the petty political jealousies & as mature, Honorable gentlemen, do the right thing. History at last will be kind to you as that long sought-after legacy will have been secured. Never let it be said that this DLP only engages in actions that benefits itself collectively as a party, or individually as politicians. Better is expected, better is required. “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but their ability to empower others” John Maxwell.

  2. Brewster April 8, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Most of Europe recycle in this way and so I can’ see why it should not work for a tiny island like Barbados! There are far to many big ideas thrown around to benefit the men at the top. Stop wasting tax payers money and go with a method that is tried and tested.

  3. Sunshine Sunny Shine April 8, 2016 at 3:28 am

    I would feel more at ease, if the government wanted to roll out a 700 million dollar plan for waste recylement.

    I would feel more at ease if that 700 million dollars was to procure a local company to produce the colour coded bins for the various wastes generated in the Barbadians household.

    I would feel more at ease if the government in utilizing that 700 million decided to construct the facilities to have this waste recycle which in turn would create jobs.

    I would feel more at ease, if the government in utilizing that 700 million purchase parcels of land to set up the bin stations around the island, purchase a fleet of suitable trucks to collect those bins, educate the island on its three prong or four prong approach to recycling, and started an endeavour that would make the islands sanitation problems a proud part of heritage to admire.

    I would feel more at ease if the government decides tomorrow to avert the heavy usage on plastic bags by increase taxation, and making a part of the law that every household establish a compost station for organic waste, namely fruit and vegetable matter.

    A recycling programme is the most cost-effective approach to reducing our problems with garbage, unfortunately, Cahill was not.

    • Andrew Simpson April 8, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      The present situation is a disgrace. SBRC getting $62000 per day and SSA $ 60 M per year for recycling very little while recyclers get nothing for such a valiant effort. I want the right to pay whoever I choose to take my garbage or recycling according to how many bags of each my household produces. And for the organics composted in the yard, I should not have to pay. Minister, take this charge off our land tax please, and give recyclers a fair chance to compete for the waste, while encouraging citizens to “do the right thing.”

  4. Tony Webster April 8, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Ask any mafioso: he will swear on a bible that there’s LOTS OF GOLD in that garbage. I – and many others- could tell by the smell of gold) that there was a lot of “stuff’…in this particular deal.
    R.I.P Cahill….and onto R3+ (plus is switch-on-Bajan brains)

  5. John Everatt April 8, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Does anyone know where to purchase these drums and lids for $5.00? If someone could tell us that then maybe we could start separating our waste instead of wasting time talking about it.

  6. jrsmith April 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Our Barbados government is been treated like a bunch of fools, Corporate fools. The trouble our politicians is listening to certain people because of the rubbish they can spout in the media making themselves look good, but could never come up with worth while workable ideas and projects..

    There is many working recyclable energy generating plants around the world, why Barbados was almost forced into this very expensive idea which was abandoned in the UK.

    Our Government need to look at may be 5 of these recycling projects where ever they are, that is something clever people do.. see the varying technology and costing, seek the advice of specialist technical engineers. on final decision put this out to tender ,making sure it is in partnership with the corporate who’s technology and construction would be taken on board..

    The recycling of garbage and conversion to power is nothing new, the only thing that’s new in who’s interest , the people , the politicians or the Corporates.., they can be worthwhile and they can be failures , but when they fail who is left holding the baby so to speak who picks up the tab..

    As a little reminder, the sewage plant in Barbados which is still not working after 15 years .. The people who suppose to manage (BARBADOS LTD) need in Barbados to get the priorities right stop allowing so call educators to force crap on our people. we take what we have and produce what we can.

    • Wayne April 9, 2016 at 9:01 am

      The sewage plant was never meant to work, it was a plot by the BLP to relocate and separate the constituents of Chapman’s Lane.

  7. dave April 8, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    A a lot of projects come on stream in Barbados because of the kickbacks involved. This is so whether or not there are tangibles or intangibles. The simplicity of what you are doing Mr. Laurie will not put extra money in certain people’s pockets. Nuff fluff , nuff talk and nuff pontificating and underhand dealing and grandstanding equals kickbacks and the more profiled the project the higher the kickback. I heard about a certain project where somebody asked for 20 million and the people said No ! but that did not stopp the person from buying his second yacht–I am told .


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