MLA calls for action over garbage collection failures

| 23/04/2018 | 78 Comments

garbage collection failures on Grand Cayman(CNS): With no apparent improvement in the mismanagement of garbage collection on Grand Cayman, the deputy opposition leader has begun a petition urging government to address the major failings at the Department of Environmental Health and re-instate twice-weekly collections. Alva Suckoo, the member of Newlands, one of the worst affected constituencies, said that he has resorted to the petition because the problem has been ongoing for what he described as “an unacceptable amount of time”.

Speaking to CNS about the petition, which has the backing of his opposition colleagues and was launched last week, Suckoo said everyone was running out of patience.

“No one can argue that the opposition has not been patient and supportive of the government’s claims to be getting this resolved, however I am also aware that many of my constituents are now at the end of the road with being patient,” he said. “The unreliable collection of trash, which can contain blood, faeces, rotting food and other sources of bacteria and viruses, is a growing health risk for these islands. That threat is compounded by the fact that dogs, cats, chickens and iguanas are spreading this material around, making the current situation intolerable and extremely unsafe.”

Suckoo commended the men and women who show up early in the morning, every day, to go out and collect the garbage and said they work extremely hard, but problems with long-term absenteeism, equipment failures and non-payment of overtime has demotivated DEH personnel.

“Management needs to step up and deal with non-performing staff, but also ensure that the department has the resources in place to do the job. We are still uncertain where the new trucks are, and I am told that the ministry may be asking for more cash for trucks or equipment at the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly,” Suckoo stated. “It is also a concern that three of the newest and largest trucks were sent to the Sister Islands, leaving two smaller trucks which are inadequate for Grand Cayman, and as of today they only have two working trucks, and they are once again behind schedule.”

He said that problems surrounding staffing levels are being compounded by the diversion of some garbage collection staff to other jobs at the landfill. “It is safe to say the staff feel they are being set up for failure. The bigger question we must get answers to is why,” Suckoo added.

One of the major problems facing the Department of Environmental Health is that the director has been on some form of enforced or unofficial leave for almost six months in the face of mounting speculation that the ministry is attempting to oust him. His mysterious disappearance and the unexpected departure of the deputy director, along with the poor morale among the team and mismanagement at the ministry level, are believed to be the causes of the failures in the collection service.

Whatever the cause, for many months residents in various districts have experienced intermittent garbage collection and piles of rubbish around residential areas and public garbage collection points are becoming an increasingly common sight. The petition is asking for twice-weekly collections to resume immediately and for an urgent review of the DEH.

The concern that the DEH is not managing even the weekly collections means that the air pollution is now a major concern, as the odour from rotting garbage quickly permeates neighbourhoods. The growing piles of garbage are also having a negative impact on the tourism sector, as some visitors have been posting comments on travel sites about Cayman’s “trash” problem.

Suckoo hopes that public support for his petition will force government to act decisively and sort out the underlying cause of the breakdown in one of the islands’ most important public services.

Sign the on-line petition here.

Tags: , ,

Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (78)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    After Ivan hit, some big men here made millions due to the governments refusal to introduce a vital TIPPAGE FEE (still not present) for all those commercial and container rental /contractor services.
    That alone could have offset residential costs.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    When was the last time you paid your garbage collection fee ?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you forgit the history. Some years ago garbage collection cost residents money. But as some didn’t pay, the govt couldn’t leave the unpaid-for garbage un-collected. So for residential garbage collections (those without the big dumpster) the fees were withdrawn. In exchange for this, import duty was increased by 2%, and so everyones trash gets collected, and everyone pays for it, even if indirectly.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    There will shortly come a time for civil disobedience. The Minister and the Chief Officer will soon find people’s garbage bags on their doorstep, since they don’t appear to care about this island-wide tragedy. Maybe then they will find a solution, when their yard is full of rotting garbage.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    12:36pm we the Bodden Town Public is watching the minister for health can not say anything out of boundaries because the premier gave him that ministerial arm rest not a seat and the premier were the previous minister for health his position just ended in May 2017 just a little before the May 2017 election and all the premier did were throw a few tires for the tire project at the landfill and that project the public can not hear anything more on the medias about that project only the premier got publicity for that project about two months before the 2017 election so that the cayman blind eyes public such as the cold hearted die hearted PPM supporters and business interest that looking a big slice or all of the cayman islands sweet pie. The deh director have not mismanaged any funds for deh so the tire project should be coming on well please give us some news radio cayman, CNS and all of the medias in cayman




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  5. Anonymous says:

    MLA Al Suckoo by the information that we the Bodden Town pubic received that the lady from Jordan that worked in deh who were putting or put her foot down on the deh managers for not performing their duties in deh the deh managers went behind her back with the deh workers that they wanted too be their in that meeting and talked against the lady with you MLA Suckoo and a past Bodden Town MLA which were the minister for health at that time and the now chief officer for health in attendance at that meeting we the Bodden Town public were told that the minister for health not the now chief officer for health stated in that meeting that the lady from Jordan that worked for deh work contract would not be renewed. MLA Al Suckoo the information that we the Bodden Town public have received must be true by how deh is so mismanaged that the deh director is still off on leave that we the Bodden Town public are wondering if the deh director put his foot down also like how the lady from Jordan did on the deh managers and the deh director got so much pressure from the deh managers and the deh managerd went against the deh director that the deh director stressed, depressed and is now under doctor or doctors care.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The above comment is true. To add to it – this same manager goes and comes when he wants and keeps his crew happy by giving them overtime without them having to work. He hit one of the workers in the head with a radio and took his position. He organized a meeting with the then Minister Ozzie, MLA Suckoo and Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn and carried his crew with him and talked bad about Dr Sallam all because she had started to discipline him. He also threatened one of his workers and told her she needed to be buried in the dump because she was just trash. Police arrested him for this offence and told him to stay away from her. He was not disciplined by the Director. The case was called three times without making the victim know and his lawyer had the case dropped. He has so much pull with the police that this did not come out in the media




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  6. Anonymous says:

    civil service at its incompetent best.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    When the trucks came to the brack they were so far gone that PWD had to go on the dock to get them started. It took them 3 days to get them from the dock .the brack has 1 1/2 truck the other 1/2 of the truck was sent to Grand Cayman .in the brack the hospital medical waste goes in the hole the hole department needs a over hall.look how much money Government spend on tickets going all over the World looking for ideas for garbage WASTING OUR MONEY TRAVEL ON TAX PAYERS MONEY THEY FULL OF S***.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    I live in Batabano and we haven’t had a problem with our garbage pickup at all. It’s unfortunate that most of the island appears to be having a problem, why doesn’t the department simply hire more staff. And why the secrecy about what’s going on with the Director?

    It’s garbage collection not rocket science. Seriously, can no one in government can figure this out?




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  9. Anonymous says:

    This falls squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Officer, as the buck stops at her. Everyone is talking as if the Minister has direct control over the department….he doesn’t; none of the Ministers do. The system does not work that way. It is the Chief Officers, who have direct control. They sign the Ownership Agreements with the Ministers.

    Instead of running around talking about the DG 5K run (which I support wholeheartedly), she needs to be focusing her attention on the serious problems within her ministry.

    This is the same CO that scrutinized a $800 Phone bill, but glanced over a million dollar contract.

    No accountability. None.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The minister sets policy and the Chief Officer carries it out! Don’t let him off the hook just yet!




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    • Anonymous says:

      When the Director and Chief Officer want to discipline the lazy or tardy or workers who damage equip, the workers run to the Minister who then tells the Director or Chief Officer to ease the workers up and give them another chance.

      The Minister is just as much part of the problem




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  10. Anonymous says:

    A beautiful country governed by careless elected leaders who don’t have the Cayman Islands priorities in focus. Tell me again, why do we need this government?




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  11. Anonymous says:

    I see that DEH has collected some of the garbage that was collected during Earth Day this past weekend, but they also left many items that were collected by members of the public and placed at the roadside for collection by DEH. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for them to collect it all at the same time?




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  12. Anonymous says:

    especially the ones that come from third world countries now littering our streets turning cayman into the dump they came from..




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    • Anonymous says:

      Lol! Nice try but your own are the worst. No one from 3rd world countries are hanging out by Heritage Kitchen every weekend leaving garbage and Heineken bottles every where. Again another perfect example of a Caymanian who refuses to take responsibility and blames everyone else.




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      • Anonymous says:

        As soon as you drive out of Norman Manley garbage blowing all over the streets. Cayman starting to look the same.




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      • Anonymous says:

        “Especially the ones that come from third world countries” Is a FACT! ….That’s why we need to enforce the littering laws, and elevate littering to an offense that can be used against WP holders. On the other hand, If Caymanians are littering (of course some are) then they are the heirs of a Country they themselves “trashed”. But, what is not needed is to import the problems.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    At a conservative estimate, Mr Seymour, who is ultimately responsible for garbage collection earns CI$400/500 a DAY. Can anyone explain what he has been doing to justify his pay check……..




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    • Anonymous says:

      He plays a mean game of hide and seek




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    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately MLA’s do not have to justify their pay cheques, they only have to pretend they are worthy of your vote every 4 years. Nobody seems to even notice they have never held a real job, in their entire life, and they are not capable of handling something as basic as collecting garbage!




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  14. Steve says:

    It won’t happen if it was private company not government owned as they CAN NOT run a business. Top man should be fired long time ago and replace a new one.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    An inability to handle its own garbage is one of the indicia of a third world country.




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  16. Tut Alors. says:

    I’m sure that the DEH management (at least those not suspended or held in the third dimension), are almost 100% Caymanian, like the Customs and Immigration departments.
    Why is it then that these dysfunctional agencies don’t perform with distinction without the benefit of all these expatriates that are constantly vilified by our born and bred Caymanian community?.




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  17. SSM345 says:

    Gotta also love the cleanup efforts made by all on Earth Day which is still sitting along the side of the road for collection and slowly making its way back into the bushes due to all the rats / dogs that have been attacking the bags.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    It is disheartening that over 2000 volunteers cleaned up the island on Saturday morning and place all the blue and black bags at the roadsides as instructed… here we are three days later and they have not been collected. DEH would have known about this for weeks. Some of those bags are now being torn into by animals and the garbage scattered about. It is very sad to see Cayman, a world-class tourist destination, plagued by this problem.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    CANCER??????😢




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  20. Anonymous says:

    So… Where are we going to put the trash from 30,000+ cruise passengers a day and who is going to collect it?

    This cruise ship dock is the worst idea out of all of the bad ideas the government has ever had.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    I totally understand lack of trash collection is a health risk however personally speaking since we have started recycling our trash amount is way below half therefore non collection for 2 weeks has not been a problem. For example trash accumulation for our house for 5 people and 3 large dogs in two weeks comes to 1 1/4 trash containers versus prior to recycling this amount of time would easily have been 3 containers. I mention this because I notice my neighbours don’t seem to recycle much; all sorts of clean looking boxes and plastic containers sitting on the ground waiting to be collected which could easily go to recycle bins. After all they have beautiful functioning cars and live less than five minutes away from nearest recycle location. It is times like this like this that people really need to start taking recycling seriously.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Bravo!! My sentiments exactly- if everyone takes the time to recycle, the amount of trash will go waaayy down! My question is, why on Earth would someone give that comment a Thumbs Down??? I mean, honestly- what’s wrong w/ being environmentally conscious and responsible?! smh




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    • Anonymous says:

      So the solution is that we all do the collection ourselves? I guess that’s great, but they still haven’t picked up the garbage.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Agree completely. Between recycling and composting, our garbage output has dropped by more than half. Family of 4, pets as well, and we barely fill half a garbage container in a week. It should be noted that we do most of our own cooking too, so there is very little in the way of food packaging in our garbage, which makes a big difference also.




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  22. Cow Rup See On says:

    So this time around it was the garbage truck that Julianna decided to ‘spirit’ away from Grand Cayman?




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    • Jotnar says:

      And this time around which MLA is going to have a business venture dealing with the replacement of the service previously provided by CIG, now impossible because equipment has been moved to the Brac never to return?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you imagine? We are now begging government to help us get GARBAGE collection right? Never say you “lived to see the day” remember pictures election time, simple, save them when you hearing all the rest of the crap.




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  23. Anonymous says:

    So much for Earth Day… and oh by the way, don’t take those burned out cop cars to the dump. There not accepting vehicles at this time😬




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  24. Anonymous says:

    The whole island is turning into a landfill. This is simply the expansion of the overflowing Mt Trashmore.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yep! Bodden Town didn’t want a waste management facilities so now the whole island is a dump! Well done BT!!




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  25. Anonymous says:

    We are talking about garbage collection ,( trash…. in bins), management here & the land-fill dilemma as a larger picture , yet some people are actually endorsing and promoting the C.I. Government to move ahead on managing the construction of a + $ 300 million cruise ship dock. I’ll leave you all to think about this for a moment.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the comments condemning the proposed cruise ship dock. It is totally unnecessary for Grand Cayman and, if built, will be an environmental disaster. We do not need more cruise ship traffic – let George Town Harbour and Harbour Drive remain as it now is, uniquely picturesque and functional, with what remains of our natural underwater beauty, intact. Do not mess with it!

      Cruise ship passengers are welcome and they contribute to our economy but they spend far less than our overnight and long term tourists. We do not need an increase in cruise ship traffic in George Town. Who is this to benefit? A few who do not care about Cayman’s future. And how much damage will it cause to our coastline and underwater terrain? A lot and those of us who do care to maintain our tourism industry need to vigorously oppose the building of this proposed, bad idea.




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  26. Anonymously says:

    This, all because money …




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  27. Anonymous says:

    We need an intelligent solution to this problem and the myriad of other public sector failures. The public must not know how incompetent we are. Surely if we look hard enough we can blame this on work permit holders.




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  28. "Anonymousir" says:

    hey folks, you all voted for PPM (and keeva) remember??? this is them! this is what you have voted for, this is what they do .. maybe now you will stop this favoritism vote because you got a stove .. and actually vote for your country next time …




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    • Anonymous says:

      Uhm, Env. Health Minister was an independent.




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      • Anonymous says:

        PPM makes the gov … they have more say … independent cant get his mouth open for alden and keeva




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      • Anonymous says:

        Nah really he just said he was so Ossie wouldn’t know he was supported by Alden just in case Ossie didn’t make it which the PPM consultants from Barbados were predicting




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  29. Anonymous says:

    Who is the minister responsible for DOEH? Perhaps we should store the garbage which is not collected in his/her yard?




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  30. Anonymous says:

    Not to minimize the problem, but
    this can create an opportunity for the home owners to reduce their own waste. After all there were no garbage collection 60 years ago. If homeowners stop buying overpackaged and plastic, disposable goods, set compost for food leftovers and may be crash or recycle glass items, they wouldn’t have much garbage left. There are so many mind blowing videos on YouTube for the plastic,glass bottles,jars projects.
    Schools can also create many projects involving plastic waste, glass.
    More problematic for the condo owners.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. Sorry, not to put down what is essentially a great idea “on paper”, but it’s Pie in the sky nonetheless. Lot of ifs, and far too many ignorant and uneducated people on this island; many imported, many local. The educated, who do give a crap about the environment may participate, but they are highly outnumbered by the ignorant and uneducated. In Singapore, if you spit on the ground or throw rubbish on the ground, expect to be fined heavily – and the fine is enforced. People simply don’t do it. In the Cayman Islands, they can’t pick up trash (a simple matter), never mind run an effective recycling program. Think about it…picking up trash is as easy as it comes. And you suggest recycling? Lol. Like I said, too many ignorant and uneducated. Even the educated think, “I’m being asked to recycle a piece of paper yet North Korea is lobbing a few million tons of radioactive material into the air with their nuclear tests? Really, you want me to recycle?…or, I’m being asked to recycle a piece of paper, yet cruise ships throw millions of tons of garbage into the ocean. My piece of paper is going to make a difference?”




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      • Kim Jong-un says:

        How about muricans continuing bullying north korea and that is why they continue conducting nuclear tests. As for recycling, home owners can reduce their garbage significantly, not need to recycle if you don’t buy overpackaged and plastic. Then they can smile and watch how the rest of the island is drowning in their own waste.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Sixty years ago we could burn it.!! I compost, take refuse to the recycling bins at countryside, but some thing need to be pick up regularly. Right now there is a crises that needs urgent attention.




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  31. Anonymous says:

    And look at all the garbage bags on the side of Frank Sound Road from Saturday clean up.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I love that the clean up happened but I made a comment that unfortunately came true… The garbage collection took too long and birds and dogs have ripped the bags open and now the garbage is blown all over the ground again. Yay forward thinking!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Bags are also waiting to be picked up on the Newlands bypass.




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  32. Anonymous says:

    they are breaking their own public health law 2002, by creating health hazzard and nuissance….as they were in the old glass house!!😉😯




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  33. Anonymous says:

    MLA Al Suckoo the Bodden Town public would like for you too bring back the lady from Jordan that worked at deh we met her on several occassions and she knew about how too manage the garbage but we were told that she coudl not get her job done because the deh managers continued to block the progress and we were told that managers went against behind her back in a meeting with politicians because she were beginning or began to put the pressure and discipline the deh managers and other deh workers for not doing what they suppose to do on during working hours and her contract were not renewed.




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  34. Anonymous says:

    Excuses, excuses give the public a break which is worst being absent from work or being present for work and not on the job site doing your daily duties all day but collecting a great salary on pay day. That is majority of all government entities especially at the managerial level using their position and power too ride the average worker’s small man you call dem and the small man do not have any say in the government only if they are friends and family with the bosses or management and going with the flow in the workplace on a daily basis the yes men dem covering-up for the bosses dem and worst if the worker’s dem against what a go on and talk up about the problems dem get looked at by dem bosses and the the yes men like if dem are trouble makers and like dem nah know what dem a talk about and the bosses a work together too secure dem jobs and hold the systems down they na business about the work dem business about dem big money on pay-day and dem na have anyone checking dem performance on a daily basis and if they do dem it a usually another boss and normally they are together so no matta what dem do wrong or go on a daily basis dem nah get any form of discipline the bosses dem a just cover-up fah dem and call it a day and talk together and laugh it off and no matter if it get reported to deh managers, directors, ministries or the deputy governor dem all just alike big men dem protecting each other jobs and securing dem pay checks on pay day all the big men dem in government can talk about is follow the protocols and everytime dem a deh ones that fi a block the protocols because dem a the people that are mashing up the system so dem na want who fi know what dem a go on wit too open up the can of worms on dem or mash up dem dolly baby houses so dem use the protocol too block the people dem that know what dem a do by running deh people that know what a dem go wit up in down like dem a fools laugh at dem and look at dem if they are smelling something stink and who who are they too tell us what to doWhat a happening in cayman is like how jamaica went in a deh sixties.




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  35. Rick says:

    Non performing staff? I guess it must be expats




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  36. Anonymous says:

    The garbage “problem” is right on cue and to script.

    Private sector will save the day.

    Coming to theatres near you.

    Sickening in more ways than one!




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  37. Anonymous says:

    What a good thing ,and congrats to everyone who did the garbage collection on Saturday ….but what a sore eye or should I say a road side decoration . Because dogs have had a play time with lots of the bags . Just wondering why they was not a pick up after the collection …walkers rd ,fair banks rd , and don’t mention opposite the walkers rd gas station .monday night and garbage still there .thanks again though.”




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  38. West Bay Premier says:

    Why don’t the Government invest into some really heavy-duty garbage cans with wheels and lid , that can hold about 150 to 200 gallons for all homes . Those are what are used in most States in the US , it eliminates 1 extra pick up day . By having one less day of garbage pick up would save on wear and trear on the trucks and less labor cost . And do more recycling .




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  39. Say it ain’t so says:

    They cannot blame it on Roydell Carter now……….so they will have to fine another scape goat. That’s how the Government works.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, it was bad before Christmas but when he got taken out it seemingly went further down-hill. Maybe he wasn’t doing a bad job of keeping it (barely) together over there.




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  40. Anonymous says:

    time for jon-jon to go…. out of his depth on so many levels.




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