MLA: CIG privatising garbage service via back door

| 09/01/2018 | 72 Comments
Cayman News Service

DEH garbage trucks, purchased March 2015

(CNS): The opposition MLA for Bodden Town West believes that government is attempting to privatise the collection of garbage through the back door. Chris Saunders believes the troubles surrounding the rubbish pick-up and the management of the landfill are directly related to the failure by the ministry to properly staff and resource the Department of Environmental Health. He said the staff shortages have led to government sub-contracting commercial collections to private companies, cutting off a major source of funding for the department, hitting the domestic service.

CNS has found that indications from some government officials that the delays in garbage pick-up are related to mechanical failures in the fleet are also unsubstantiated. Government invested more than US$2 million less than three years ago on a fleet of new residential and commercial garbage trucks, and the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services has seen no major break-downs or issues relating to the trucks.

DVES Director Richard Simms told CNS Tuesday that there is only one truck out of the fleet of 22 that is currently at their service centre and most of the work they have done over recent months is just tyre replacement, which takes hours, not days or weeks, to deal with.

“I can confirm that we have just one truck and whatever issues there are, it is not about mechanical failure,” he said, noting that the fleet was being well-maintained.

Officials have also confirmed that while DEH Director Roydell Carter is on some form of undefined leave, as undisclosed issues surrounding his future with the department remain in question, Deputy Director Mark Rowlands recently resigned.

Saunders, who said his district is still facing piles of mounting garbage, told CNS that as a result of his efforts to get to the bottom of what is really going on with the collection problems, he believes the freeze on staff and overtime appears to be an unwritten policy move to privatise the rubbish pick-up service almost by default, which could see the public purse paying twice.

“This is the only logical explanation for what is going on,” he said, as he pointed to the reduction in the public sector staff working on the garbage collection while government is contracting private collectors to fill the gaps. “We used to have a twice weekly collection service; now they can’t seem to manage to do every two weeks,” he said, noting, “Only a few years ago we spent millions of dollars on new trucks.”

Saunders said he was not ready to accept garbage piling up on the streets in his constituency and all of the resulting public health issues and he intended to keep up the pressure on government to get the streets cleared.

The ministry with responsibility for environmental health is supposed to be in talks at present with a consortium of local and international garbage contractors, led by Dart’s construction firm, DECCO, which won the recent bid to manage the implementation of the government’s solid waste management plan.

DECCO and its partners are talking with government and CUC over the construction of a waste-to-energy facility and management of the proposed composting and recycling facilities (although there will be no curbside collection of recyclables) and beginning the remediation of the existing landfills.

The tender does not include garbage collection, which according to government was supposed to be left in the hands of the Department of Environmental Health.

Tags: , , ,

Category: environmental health, Health, Politics

Comments (72)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Govt: “I know we told you the last time that from that point forward the garbage pile ups wasnt goin to happen again on our watch. But, from this point forward, I can tell you that it wont happen again, again.”




    3



    0
  2. Anonymous says:

    Anon @8:27am you are clearly smelling too much of your own garbage.

    I don’t see where in the article the Member for Bodden Town West is advocating that Government can do everything better than the private sector. Rather, he is rightly demanding that if Government is providing a service, that they actually do so in a timely and professional manner. Likewise, if Government’s ultimate goal is to privatise the service, then it should be done in a transparent manner.

    It is very disappointing to see a politician who is actually treating his residents with the respect that we deserve being attacked unfairly.

    For 2018, our New Year resolution should be to stop letting all those other politicians who have treated us with nothing but contempt (starting with the top) the ability to keep doing it. At some point we must say enough is enough and rise up!




    8



    3
    • Anon says:

      Anonymous says @10/01/2018 at 6:12 pm
      The article indeed do not say anything about the BTW Members view of the Goverment’s abilities but his previous statements and facebook posts clearly gives a good impression of what he thinks is best. It is sadly people like him that helps to perpetuate poverty and corruption, as much as he may not want to avoid this, but unfortunately his belief system has proven to be a failure for decades.




      4



      3
  3. Anonymous says:

    The sounds of it the marl road talk have some truth too it the garbage trucks is not the problem for the delay for the garbage pick-up so it must be poor management of the garbage then. What a joke i wish the garbage could talk.😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😎 what a sunny windy day in cayman.




    8



    1
  4. Anonymous says:

    our good old Christian Government! no…..they are the best😆




    8



    0
    • #CAYMANKIND says:

      All governments for the past 30 years at a minimum have shown they are not interested in transparency, accountability or good governance.

      Side deals to benrfit supporters and where appropriate concessions are given away annually like candies because it forms part of the kick backs negotiations in the dark rooms or over dominoes and pots of turtle meat dinners. This is how cayman politics has always worked. It involves all the so-called men of integrity and pillars of the community. It is a time honored tradition and how business is conducted in this country. Connect the dots to the companies that are benefitting then look down the rabbit hole.

      Has anybody in Cayman ever been charged or convicted for fronting? When it comes to RFP’s the winners are always predetermined. Trading favors and promises has made many many many persons in Cayman very rich. It always involves the same players and proxies.




      0



      0
  5. Anonymous says:

    With Jon Jon and Mac and Bernie and Eugene in bed with Alden we are witnessing return to the days of cocktail party deals and the like. Alden better watch what he is doing or he will share the blame!




    16



    3
    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t believe that most of us have a problem with the garbage collection being privatized, for me I will pay as I did in the past. However I think we surely would be expecting our politicians to negotiation a reasonable cost that we would have to pay. Instead it appears that what is happening is those intimately involved already jumped to the head of the line and are aligning themselves to get a piece of it before it even goes to tender where anyone who is interested can be able to make their bid. To me, if that is the case then it smacks of collusion.




      7



      1
      • Rodney A. Barnett says:

        I concur with most of what Anon 12:23pm says above, but cautioin him to remember all residents already pay dearly for garbage pickup through the recently increased customs duty increases. Please dont advocate for an increased tarrif on garbage collection based on a promise for better/reliable collection due to private sector outsourcing.




        0



        0
  6. anonymous says:

    Happy to those who have had their garbage collected, as where I live, the garbage has not been picked up since they did the long-overdue collections post Christmas! Sad and we boost of not being a third-world country




    9



    2
  7. Man-O-War says:

    Reminds me of what happened at the NRA. Need paving and construction done? Starve the Government agency and give the work to the private sector so a few can get rich.




    15



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      Hire Dart to form a company to handle it. Their projects are done right, on time, with appropriate equipment. and with off island ownership you don’t have worry about local corruption.




      2



      11
    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. They have the equipment but it sits in the Brac…Why?




      9



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      Not exactly accurate….pave private parking areas and driveways in the Brac for votes, using public funds? Now that’s mismanagement!




      8



      0
  8. Anonymous says:

    MLA Saunders, you should be encouraging the DoEH to exit the COMMERCIAL garbage collection business/service. Leave that to the private sector where it has already commenced and is growing competitively. Get DoEH to focus only on household (<4 units) collection and recycling. Every commercial & multi-unit residential building should be made to operate under current Planning requirements regardless of when they were built.
    Quit looking for faults and look to advance solutions.




    14



    19
    • Anonymous says:

      Why should they cut the only part of their business that generates offsetting revenue (and actually works perfectly)?!?




      2



      1
  9. Anonymous says:

    We have the opposite problem…DEH trucks have been coming too frequently in the last few weeks. On the short 4 day week they came 3 times and this week they have already come twice. We are only paying for service twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. Obviously this is off the rails and they are winging it.




    12



    3
  10. Anonymous says:

    This garbage issue is representative of a much wider problem: the immediate, knee-jerk instinct of Cayman’s public authorities time after time to clam up and refuse to explain what has happened when something like this arises. It causes damaging speculation and is the very opposite of what they should be doing. Surely Cayman’s citizens are entitled to know why their garbage is isn’t being collected; after all, they’re paying for the service.

    Transparency is something the deputy governor should look carefully at. Each department should have to provide information promptly when asked, on pain of personal penalty. But it’ll never happen.

    I suspect that the civil service just wants to cover up its appalling endemic incompetence. It’s embarrassed to give the real reasons, so it says nothing.

    So I also suspect the garbage issue was caused by incompetence. If government says not, then it should prove it. But it won’t because it can’t.




    27



    0
  11. Mokes-for-all says:

    Is this simply a case of someone being promoted beyond his abilities; and now he has been found out? It shouldn’t be too difficult to sort out this garbage – just needs the right person in charge.




    17



    7
    • Anonymous says:

      Consequences of Caymanization.




      0



      7
      • Anonymous says:

        At the very strong risk of sounding xenophobic… I would like to inform you that incompetence is not endemic to “Caymanization”. I have met and worked with many, many, MANY extremely incompetent expats of varying nationalities.

        Also eff off with that word “Caymanization”. You’re in the Cayman Islands act like a guest who was raise with manners and respect the local population of the country you ran to for better opportunities.

        I make no flipping apologies to anyone who tries to conveniently stereotype EVERY Caymanian as worthless. If you are terrible at your job, you should be fired. Plain and simple.

        But lay off of the Cayman bashing. Even DART liked us so much he wanted to be become one. So now he is a caymanian. is he incompetent? Or is he different? What should a Caymanian do to be deserving of your admiration?

        Be rich?
        Be white?
        Speak with and American or British accent?
        Not be born here but have the paper?

        Tell us hard working, talented and rarely acknowledged Caymanian how to get you to like us? Take a moment to come down from your high horse and tell me how your world view of my home is better than mine. Because after all, you left where ever you came from to get international experience and broaden your horizons while staying in your nice and tight little circle or bubble.

        Do yourself and my Island a favor and STFU.




        11



        1
        • Rodney A. Barnett says:

          I’m not sure if you are risking sounding xenophobic, but you certainly sound to me as though you are terribly insulted and possibly hurt when you listen to constant generalization about Caymanians. Certainly you are correct in standing up for yourself and your fellow Caymanians when you point out that is not the case.

          There are inaccurate generalizations about all groups. “Those pushy Americans”, “Lazy Hispanics”, “Stupid Pols”, “Cheap Swedes”, “Opportunistic Slavs”, Crooked Russians”, etc., etc. In most cases the slurs are directed at the latest group of immigrants to a country. In our case here in Cayman, Caymanians tend to lump all foreign born people together for their slurs: “Carpetbaggers”, “Nation stealers”, “Opportunists”, etc., etc., and of course Type A personalities sometimes to push aside Caymanians shouting, “Lazy”, “Slackers” and more.

          In my considerable life’s experiences I find that the nature of these slurs stems from lack of knowledge about others, fear of the unknown, and misunderstanding of foreign cultures.

          I notice that for all of the fear of foreigners and all of the misunderstanding of Caymanians there has been little attempt to establish a Cayman International Society, or Cayman Foreign Exchange or whatever you wish to call it to bring together in an ongoing social/educational/historical sense the cultures of these beautiful islands and those of the vast number of cultures we have here.

          Without any honest attempt to truly understand and know each other, we will never truly be happy.




          3



          0
  12. Anonymous says:

    Well folks – keep voting in the same career politicians – no matter if it is PPM, UDP, PIP, VIP – throwing money at the wrong part of the problem rather than cleaning house from top to bottom – that’s what you get!




    16



    3
  13. Anonymous says:

    blame mckeeva….he is the one who scrapped garbage collection fees…..which was one of the most illogical decisions in recent times….esp when you consider the rest of the world adopts the ‘polluter pays’ mentality




    20



    10
    • Anonymous says:

      Mac also imported more garbage than generations of Caymanians have managed , and will now have to pay for through social services…..Getting wotes is more important than his country.




      26



      3
    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t like that I am put in the position of defending mckeeva but he scrapped non commercial fees collection because it would have taken appearances in court for some people to pay the fee and garbage being what it is, the trucks had to collect it anyway. Instead he increased the import duties or petrol duties ( not exactly sure now) to compensate for the shortfall. I thought it was a good very good idea.




      18



      3
      • Anonymous says:

        It was import duties across the board by 2% so the polluter pays up front on importation instead of being able to refuse to pay and the country being faced with either picking up the garbage from non paying polluters or having a nasty looking country. Those were the days that Mckeeva had sound rational thinking people around him. Those type of ideas have been absent for a while.




        3



        1
    • Anonymous says:

      Polluter SHOULD pay, but what they will do is dump their stuff at Barkers or empty lots etc. Enforcement would help, but that seems more lacking than trash pickups.




      6



      1
    • Anonymous says:

      6:09 am, why don’t you get the facts before opening your mouth. the garbage fee was not scrapped, it was added on to duties as 2 % for the garbage fee, for most people (maybe like you) failed to pay the yearly fee, this way all people pays, for all has to eat etc, etc.




      8



      2
  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh my by the sounds of it the marl road talk have some truth to it. The DVES director has confirmed that DVES have one garbage truck and whatever issues their are it is not about mechanical failure. It sounds if the next trucks that will be purchased next needs to know how to talk because the garbage trucks is getting alot of blame.




    16



    1
  15. Anonymous says:

    He says it as if it is a bad thing. Shows the Abursidstan mindset. Better services provided by a private provider suits the population, it does not suit the politicians.




    5



    11
  16. Anonymous says:

    Rubbish Saunders. My garage bin is clean.




    4



    12
  17. Anonymous says:

    I live in Bodden Town and according to Deputy Governor’s timeline it was collected on the date he said. So early were they that I did not even hear them and missed giving them their belated christmas gifts. People keep saying no issues with the fleet but like the ambulances these vehicles push a lot of miles and need more than the half yearly service. Secondly, not many people will do the jobs these guys do on such a regular schedule and it is a nasty job. Therefore, they deserve good wages, good benefits and yes they may have to work overtime and should be paid. We complain and complain but wait till Dart makes us pay an arm and a leg to have our rubbish collected!




    17



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      I live in Bodden Town…the real Bodden Town…. too and our garbage has not been picked up in ten days even though it was supposed to have been collected on Monday according to the revised schedule.




      3



      2
      • Anonymous says:

        North side – no pickup for two weeks and I am told nothing until Friday. Have heard nothing from Ezzard, guess he is too busy comping up with a vision …..




        2



        0
  18. Anonymous says:

    Corruption is systemic in the Cayman Islands and drives the decision making process. Always has always will be too many pigs in the troughs to feed




    12



    4
  19. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan




    11



    2
  20. Frank King says:

    I find it hard to believe that our government is so inept that they cannot come up with a workable garbage collection system. Really!




    45



    1
    • Anonymous says:

      Oh they can, except it’s a multi-million dollar deal for some greedy little hands, if they don’t.




      16



      0
    • Anonymous says:

      believe it.




      7



      0
    • PD says:

      Why do you find it hard to believe. This is the Cayman Islands.




      17



      4
    • Anonymous says:

      8:30 pm You ever heard of a jackass finding his tail? The minister for Bodden Town should have the answer for them. They selected the best, who can’t answer their questions.




      8



      2
      • UnCivil Servant says:

        Waste management experts, civil engineers, town planners and environmental specialists work in the Ministry of Health and Departmant of Environmental Health. They are all to share the load of blame for failing to do the jobs including the Chief officer ahearn they are paid good money to do within the civil service. This mess is not just the fault of Mr. Alden as the previous health minister or the current minister Jon Jon. It is exactly what the civil service is a real mess.




        7



        0
    • Anonymous says:

      Add a domestic garbage fee to the CUC bill.
      Give CUC handling fee, everybody makes money and the job gets done.




      2



      9
      • Anonymous says:

        8:23am, Many years ago the garbage collection fee was included in the Customs Import Duty. Why should be pay again via our CUC bills?




        11



        0
      • Anonymous says:

        I live in my own home, I pay CUC directly, my garbage is paid through my ‘strata’. This is just one example of the number of complications that will arise. Your system is too simple to work effectively in the real world. You must be part of this super-smart private sector we keep hearing about. Thank goodness you’re not in charge of the country.




        3



        0
    • Anonymous says:

      It is not hard to believe at all.




      1



      0
  21. Anonymous says:

    As of Tuesday night, still no garbage pick up in Bodden Town though the new schedule said it would be Monday.




    19



    3
    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 8:21pm and your Elected Minister is who ? Better have a talk with him instead of complaining in your comment. This kind of thing is why these Politicians gets away with their incompetence . If I lived in Bodden Town and my garbage was never picked up, he would get two ears full from me and another two publicly.




      4



      1
    • nauticalone says:

      Also no collection in North Side. It’s overflowing in Cayman Kai / Rum Point.




      3



      0
  22. West bay Premier says:

    This what you call bad waste management 22 garbage trucks for 24 ×8 mile Island . That’s about 1 garbage truck for every sq mile of Island . No wonder the garbage pick up is in trouble they spent all the money on buying trucks .




    25



    5
    • Anonymous says:

      Maths isn’t your strong point




      11



      2
    • Diogenes says:

      You really gotta work on your math buddy, Grand Cayman is approximately 76 Square miles
      Good thing you are the Premier of WB and not the Minister of Education




      15



      1
      • Anonymous says:

        Badmouth Mr. Saunders if you want but he is on to something about Government trying to privatize garbage collection thru “the back door”. Government has already entered negotiations with one collection company in particular, without participation of the three other companies which exist locally. Shouldn’t there be a transparent bidding process open to them all?




        9



        5
      • West bay Premier says:

        Diogenes , it looks like 16 people got the jest of my comment, even if my calculation might be wrong .




        2



        2
      • West bay Premier says:

        All you mathematicians better get into the Government and straighten that out because that is where you are really needed ..




        2



        1
    • Diogenes says:

      Also you can’t use one set of numbers to calculate Cayman’s surface area (even if you approximate you would be miles or kilometers off) Have you ever seen a map or picture of Cayman? It’s thick on one side and then skinny and long on the other, aka horrible for calculating surface area using straight lines and gross numbers (a geometer’s nightmare, and yes mathematicians who focus on geometry are called geometers) Not to mention the big chunk missing between east and west.

      Next time save yourself the trouble (and the embarrassment) and just look up the surface area on Google Mr Premier, save face and seem like a reputable source all at once

      Diogenes




      5



      3
    • Anonymous says:

      You mean 1 truck per 8.7 sq mls.
      Or 1 truck per 2500 people.
      Or 1 truck per 600 homes.
      At 20 seconds per home it should take 8 hours to pick up the garbage.
      So the problem is not the amount of trucks.
      The problem is not having enough people to do the job. That is a responsibility of politicians, not the deh.




      6



      4
      • Anonymous says:

        one politician in particular who is helping out his former colleague, party member and fellow minister! Purple Rain forever it seems




        2



        0
    • Anon says:

      West Bay Premier 24 times 8 is 192 or 8.72 square miles per garbage truck, but more likely 1 truck to serve ever 1,400 households. The Bodden Town West MLA is totally lost about everything. He came from the private sector bragging about his “Financial Prowess” now his idea is that the Government can do everything better that the private sector. This is the kind of thinking that perpetuates the endemic incompetence that exist in the Cayman Civil service. Lord please help us!




      7



      3
    • Anonymous says:

      West bay Premier, I’m guessing you were educated by our fine public school system?! – Firstly 24×8 miles would give you a figure of 192 sq miles, divide that by 22 gives you a figure of 1 truck per 8.7 sq miles.
      – Secondly according to the good old internet the size of the Cayman Islands is 101.9 sq miles, so divide that by 22 would give you a figure of 1 truck per 4.6 sq miles.
      Not trying to be picky, but it’s pretty basic maths! 🙂

      Still I agree, it’s not difficult to manage this system properly!




      2



      0
  23. Anonymous says:

    One really has to wonder when our Cabinet plans to enact the Standards in Public Life Law? What is that date so we can put it on our calendars and schedule a collective sigh of relief?!? Nobody wants to turn on the lights and squash these cockroaches.




    17



    0
    • Anonymous says:

      They are all the same. Bought and paid for with too many side deals that benefit too connected persons.




      4



      0
  24. Anonymous says:

    Better hope Anthony and Alva don’t find out!




    18



    2
    • Anonymous says:

      Better hope Alva and Anthony do find out, then perhaps something will be done about this supposedly underhanded venture. Anyone who would deliberately act in this manner against their own place of abode in my opinion is destroying it for the sake of a few dollars. Persons like Alva and Anthony and Chris will serve out however many terms that they are elected with only what they magage to save over the years, wish I could say the same for some of the others. They are working overtime gathering where they have not sown. If what Chris Saunders is saying is true then all I can say is this is treasonous. Seriously I don’t understand how elected officials can be so treaturous to their own homeland. The way I see it is if government has another plan, a better plan for the disposal of garbage then let us the public know about it, but no, they cannot even say whether the director is on vacation, on required leave, is suspended or has been removed from his post. We can get no confirmation from them but this constant drip drip of information is seeping out of the sewers. What the hell is wrong with you people, do you think all of us are fools? At this time in the history of Cayman we have more trucks than ever before, however the garbage is piling up higher than ever before, the minister of the environment (dump) is to disconnected that he does not even know how many trucks there are in operation. Imagine there are 22 trucks and he is saying 8. What did he do with the other 14? How can 14 humungous garbsge trucks disappear from an island 22×8 square miles in size.Instead of the director being in trouble maybe we should be demanding that the minister should be relieved of his duties. From what Mr. Saunders said It appears as if someone is deliberately sabotaging the entire process so that they can get in on it for their personal benefit. Mr. Saunders if this is so then as an elected official it is encumbent on you to be part of the solution. Go ahead, gather facts then blow this entire sewer system wide open. This government does not like honest people- especially ” big mouth honest people”




      10



      6
    • Anonymous says:

      Who? 🙂




      1



      1

Please include your email address in the form below if you are using your real name. You can use a pseudonym, with or without leaving an email address, or just leave the form blank to be "Anonymous". All comments will be moderated before they are published. Please read the CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.