Never again!

Jones issues warning to laundermat amid three-day closure of Wesley Hall schools

Minister of Education Ronald Jones today issued a stern warning to the business at the centre of  environmental complaints at the Wesley Hall junior and infants’ schools.

Jones said never again should Tropical Laundries use such environmentally-harsh Bunker C fuel in its operations, as he questioned why it had taken the laundermat so long to make the switch to natural gas.

While pointing out that the business was also at the centre of similar environmental concerns, dating back to the early 2000s which led to the permanent closure of the now defunct Louis Lynch School (formerly known as Roebuck Secondary), Jones suggested that the problem should have been dealt with a long time ago.

“What is surprising is that they already have the technology [to make the switch to natural gas] at the plant because if you remember this goes back to the Louis Lynch situation, so they already have all of the technology in place,” said Jones, adding that “it is really a bit strange to me that they would still use Bunker C, even though it is a cheaper fuel, and not continue to use the natural gas.

“I don’t know if there is a problem with the natural gas because I know we do have enough of it here, [but] I really don’t know what was the hold up,” said Jones, who was responding to Barbados TODAY’s request for an update on the situation, following the re-opening of the Edna Nicholls Centre at Boscobel, St Peter this morning.

While praising the company for agreeing to make the switch to natural gas, Jones went on to issue a veiled warning to the operators of Tropical Laundries that their harmful practices needed to stop, else they could face serious repercussions.

“Everybody has to learn from their own given behaviour, but I do not think it is going to happen again where they would resort to Bunker C because as I said before it is a very harsh chemical.

“Every experience is a learning experience and we have to exist across all of the spaces where you would find residences, congregation of schools and businesses. Those businesses have to be conscious of what they do because these things can cause asthma and breathing difficulties like what we saw at the Wesley Hall schools,” Jones stressed.

Bunker C is the residual oil left over after the lighter,
more volatile products such as gasoline, #2 diesel and natural gas are distilled out of the crude oil. It is heavy because the molecules are larger, hence it provides a lot of energy per unit of fuel.

However, because it is the final oil left over, it has a lot more impurities such as sulfur and heavy metal. This also results in ash and deposit formation as well as combustion emissions.

In 2012 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organisation, announced that it had reclassified diesel exhaust and Bunker C, as a “definite” carcinogen, placing it in the agencies highest category.

IARC’s expert panel assessed all the available scientific evidence and decided that exposure to these fumes can, and does, cause cancer in humans, specifically lung cancer, which has been blamed for a number of deaths in recent years of former staff members and students who were associated with Louis Lynch.

However, no conclusive evidence has been presented to date to show that the laundry is directly linked to those deaths, even though an environmental assessment, which was done back in 2005, found that there were contaminants in the air.

On Tuesday classes were abandoned at both Wesley Hall infants and juniors, which are to remain closed for the rest of the week, after a flare up of noxious fumes, which has been linked to the White Park Road operations of Tropical Laundries.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY amid reports of students and staffers coming down with respiratory illnesses, Principal of Wesley Hall Juniors Herbert Gittens said it was not the first time that the school had been bothered by the noxious fumes.

“Last school year, we had situations where we had to evacuate about four times, so this is an ongoing situation and obviously it is affecting the staff and the pupils of the school and we are really looking forward to a solution so that we can continue the business of teaching and learning,” said Gittens, who has been the principal of Wesley Hall Juniors since 2012.

He also told Barbados TODAY that he had reached out to the owners of Tropical Laundries who had promised to
make the necessary changes to their operations but none had been made.

24 Responses to Never again!

  1. Berestford Leon Phillips January 25, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Is Tropical Laundries still owned by Goddard’s Enterprises?
    Will Charles Herbert and Phillip Goddard make sure this nonsense stop. This is 2018

    • harry turnover January 25, 2018 at 6:49 am

      ……and Douglas Leopold Philips has been the GOVERNMENT of BARBADOS for the LAST 10 YEARS now.

  2. Carson C. Cadogan January 25, 2018 at 6:33 am

    Tropical Laundries is a part of the Goddards group.

    Let that set in.

    • harry turnover January 25, 2018 at 6:51 am

      ..and wunna AS THE GOVERNMENT IN POWER caan do nutten bout dat ?…let that set in TOO.

    • Ras January 25, 2018 at 6:28 pm

      If Tropical Laundries was owned by the Rastas it would of got shut down long time
      Two Bims

    • Ras January 25, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      Tropical Laundries untouchable den
      Charles Herbert please get your Union friends and march up to
      Tropical Laundries
      Charles Herbert knows all about NIS and the DLP ang nothing about Tropical Laundries what a shame

  3. hcalndre January 25, 2018 at 6:53 am

    No law suits were brought although the minister said the problem was identified and that people died? only in a third world country would have a laundry or any business be allowed to operate in residential areas using toxic chemicals and then hearing a lot of long talk and praise to the offenders.

  4. Sheron Inniss January 25, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Lord have mercy. Two Bims.

  5. smiley January 25, 2018 at 7:36 am

    Cancer causing fumes killing the school children it’s wrong and the wicked people are getting away with it

  6. Heather January 25, 2018 at 7:39 am

    It is amazing that after the Louis Lynch saga we are still experiencing problems with that laundry.. The universe (God) intervened and that laundry was burnt.. lo and behold, the government of the day allowed that laundry to be rebuilt on that same spot.. the government had a perfect opportunity to have or ask to have that laundry relocated..

  7. BIG SKY January 25, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Heather I agree with you.I went to school at Roebuck and the smell and fumes from the laundry, had both teachers and students sick daily.If this was a poor black farmer with pigs or chickens and just the smell was hampering the schools,he would be closed down right away and locked up.

  8. gsmiley January 25, 2018 at 9:07 am

    lol Big Sky come on man not locked up.

  9. Kevin January 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Lion and the lamb, lion and the lamb…..

  10. Helicopter(8P) January 25, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Nitrous dioxide and monoxide are harmful to animal and human life by ingestion. Some sulfides are present in this fuel (bunker-C) by small percentage. The cheaper the fuel the more harmful chemical coexists within its formula. Unchanged primary and secondary fuel filters by time life can increase the harmful effects of this hydrocarbon fuel!

  11. Sue Donym January 25, 2018 at 11:24 am

    There is so much that is bothersome in this article. Here we have a government minister revealing known risks and hazards, yet a principal (under his ministry) is talking about “promises” by an offending business to make life-saving adjustments.

    Has anyone else noticed that the reclassification of diesel has been glossed over while the majority of public transportation, many government-owned vehicles and most commercial haulage vehicles are diesel powered? Is it not to be assumed that low quality/high sulphur diesel – such as is said to be imported in our area – poses an even greater risk?

    “Every experience is a learning experience”. What irony here when the events caused an entire school to be deprived of their learning time. Question is, have we learned anything about how Do Little Policies can severely impact our nation and strip away any confidence?

  12. Carson C. Cadogan January 25, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I want to hear what CHARLES HERBERT has to say about this very dangerous situation which is effecting BLACK people.

    He always have a lot to say about this Govt., let us hear what he has to say on this dangerous matter.

    Barbados Today likes to run to him all the time. But they are now afraid to ask him anything about Tropical Laundries

    • Sue Donym January 25, 2018 at 11:44 am

      If a situation is known to be “very dangerous” it’s certain that self regulation has not worked… why is CCC not calling on the authorities Town Planning, Health, Environment to invoke what remedies and penalties are available under law? Who is not enforcing safeguards or is the legislation ineffective?
      Is CCC afraid to ask if hands are tied?

      • Carson C. Cadogan January 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        And you are giving the Board, Management and staff of Goddards group a free pass on this most dangerous situation.

        • Sue Donym January 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

          Where in my comments have I sought to excuse anyone or any agency? What did you understand by “calling on the authorities Town Planning, Health, Environment to invoke what remedies and penalties are available under law”?
          If you have no response we can accept that, CCC.

    • hcalndre January 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      @Carson C Cadogan; Is Charles Herbert the owner of the laundry, or the minister of Environment? I thought that you would ask the government what they are doing about the problem? but you would rather blame everyone else and give the government a free ride.

  13. Buun January 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    “Never Again” is right Mr. Jones. Barbados needs a real Minister of Education to take us into the future, so never again for you!

  14. Saga Boy January 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    The Gov should charge The Goddards Group for knowingly using substances that cause cancer.

  15. Greengiant January 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    The Goddard’s Enterprises Group. The Barbadian conglomerate who probably would have given their black employees time to march last year. Where is your social or environmental conscience?

  16. milli watt January 25, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    you could imagine this place was identified years ago given the proximity and this political class stumble all around it while it remained open and now wesley hall a quarter mile away he got a stern warning sssttttuuuuppppsssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


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