Minister admits struggles with garbage

| 02/07/2018 | 60 Comments
Cayman News Service

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour at the dump with bales ready for recycling

(CNS): The minister responsible for the Department of Environmental Health has admitted that staff not turning up for work and failing equipment have continued to plague garbage collection. But in a statement to the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Dwayne Seymour claimed that the routes were staffed and the trucks had been serviced, as efforts were being made to get collection back on track. He said that ten temporary workers had been taken on, but that absenteeism remained a problem and the ministry was still trying to catch up on the lack of investment in equipment.

Seymour said that overtime costs had been cut from $100,000 to $25,000 per month, but he did not indicate how much money was being spent on the private businesses that he admitted DEH was contracting to fill in the gaps in the residential collection as a result of failing equipment. He said that moving forward, the private sector companies would continue to play a part in collection, fuelling concerns that plans by the government to privatise garbage collection will result in firms profiting from the reintroduction of direct garbage fees.

During last week’s three-day meeting of the LA, the minister delivered two speeches and answered several questions about the “vexing issues” and the apparent challenges his ministry has organising rubbish pick-up, but not once did he mention the fate of the missing director. He also struggled to answer questions about replacement trucks that were budgeted for in the last cycle but which do not appear to have ever been ordered.

On Friday Seymour revealed that a review was underway of collection routes, equipment needs and other issues to try to iron out the problems and make the department more efficient, and said he expected the results within three months.

He said he was “extremely conscious of the understandable concerns” about the failure to provide a reliable and consistent service, but that he could not promise that the “challenges would end imminently” and the ministry was doing all it could within its power.

“No one is more anxious than myself to see this situation improve,” he said.

The day before, on Thursday, Seymour had delivered a statement about what he considered were his achievements since taking up the helm of the ministry, which is arguably the most troubled. However, he ignored issues such as the anti-corruption probe at the hospital and the garbage challenges.

Speaking about the negotiations regarding the long-awaited integrated waste-management solution, he said that negotiations with the DECCO-led consortium that began last October were not expected to be completed before the end of the year. He said that the ministry was obligated to get the best value for money before signing a contract.

He also said that an environmental impact assessment would be required and the draft terms of reference for that were being worked on, which would go through a public consultation process. Once the EIA was complete, a planning application could be made, and it was not until all of that was completed that any contract would be signed. 

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (60)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Time for a change switch the the health minister to sit in his M LA office in Bodden Town.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Someone should probably let them know that in their line of work, unsociable hours do not constitute overtime.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Something needs to be done about the amount of hopper (garbage) juice that the trucks are leaking all over the roads too! It is horrible to walk in a residential neighborhood after garbage collections have taken place. There are puddles of foul smelling/toxic slime and juice all over the place!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh when will the voters of the Cayman Islands care enough about their misspent public funds, and international reputation, to modify the basic parameters for MLA eligibility, and demand enactment of the Standards in Public Life? We need more responsible people in charge to end the waste and corruption that permeates successive regimes. Amazingly, the apathy is so rife that a grotesque ambient level of political immunity seems to go unchallenged for decades. Where are the protests and pitchforks?

  5. Lord J says:

    I work in that section of CIG the landfill area is a mess the operators of the machine doesn’t want to work they will do anything not the completed there job machines go down on a regular bases because the operator the new garbage truck looks like they been in service for 10 years because those that do a little of work don’t clean after there completed runs so the acid and the another dangerous wastes at the landfill eats the trucks down even quicker then they bring the truck to the technicians to work on it some of the nastiest ways

  6. Jotnar says:

    How many people does DEH have claiming OT? $100K a month is a huge sum. Even at $20 an hour that’s 5000 hrs a month – across how many employees? And why is persistent absenteeism even an issue – 3 strikes and you are out, surely? Hire those that actually turn up.
    You have to wonder if anyone can be this incompetent – or the mark road suggestions that this is deliberate to prepare the ground for privatisation – to carefully selected firms, no doubt.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Someone needs to ask him what it took for him to leave the Independents after the last election and join the Unity Circus led by the Cayman Islands two most proficient clowns Alden n Mac

    • Anonymous says:

      It seems to me that the “independents” are just as big a set of clowns, would do no better and more than likely worse! We voted them all in. What to do!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone say “in over your head?”

  9. Anonymous says:

    The minister for health acting if he know what is happening in deh because he is doing all of the talking now. Mr. Minister in the same breath can you tell the public what happen too the deh director? And the deh assistant director for the garbage?. Mr. Minister did you have a decent meeting with all of the deh worker’s under one umbrella after you got elected on May 24h 2017?.so that the worker’s could have being given the opportunity too talk and the issues could have being dealt with and not just promises being told. Because Mr. Minister it sounds if you need some serious help with the garbage mess that the premier and the chief officer for health threw it all in your hands and laps. Mr. Minister talk what you have too talk do not allow the premier and the chief officer for health throw the mess all over you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    10:17pm yes maybe you are right and also sack the worker’s that show up too work just too show their faces and then they leave work and then they show themselves up to work again the same day for a short period of time before their eight hours a day is completed acting if they did a honest days work to earn a honest pay.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hire some caymanians maybe they make a difference

  12. Yea! says:

    You can dress up a donkey all you want, but you still got a donkey – albeit, a dressed-up one. Methinks before you become a Minister of Anything, you ought to pass a basic spelling test…though I’ll be the first to admit that it wouldn’t help anything. All you’d have is a dressed-up donkey who can spell braying at other higher-educated donkeys who may or may not be able to spell.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So all those new expensive dump trucks, like what happened to them?

  14. YB says:

    Time for him to change into some more comfortable clothes, roll his sleeves up – rent dump trucks if he must and get the garbage picked-up! If I was a Minister in charge of this department, to ensure that the garbage got picked-up, I would have gotten my group 4 drivers license by now and would be in the front seat of one of those dump trucks physically assisting.

    This is shameful! Stop finding excuses and do something to the extreme in a positive way or the mess is NEVER going to get cleaned up! GET UP AND ACT NOW!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    That picture sums it right up..Garbage standing in front of Garbage!

  16. Anonymous says:

    *Pokémon Battle Music*
    A wild Problem has Appeared.
    Dwayne Seymour I Choose you!
    Dwayne use Legislate!
    …. It is Very Ineffective …
    Cayman Dump used Fester!
    …. It is super effective…
    Dwayne has fainted.
    Pay $40,000

  17. Anonymous says:

    Time to privatise garbage collection. Logistically, garbage collection should not be difficult to organise. The biggest problem is the obstructions built into the government’s inability to fire employees for poor performance – and that is not just aimed at those absentee garbage collectors, but at the whole gamut of employees up the chain of command. If they are not performing in accordance with industry standards, they should be fired. Government’s inherent problem is the inability to cut out the deadwood.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Got some Teachers on the Brac who fit that bill…

    • Anonymous says:

      Good idea. … Fees doible every year with the same level of service.
      Only difference is fees go to one guy instead of the public.

  18. Say it like it is says:

    Even more important than obtaining the replacement trucks, is ordering a new Minister.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ladies and Gents, Civil Servant of the year, Dwayne “Big Boy” Seymour!

  20. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

    • Anonymous says:

      I just listened to him painfully trying to answer some questions. He is woefully enept. He keeps repeating the phrase ” I am uncomfortable with this”. He says he is really uncomfortable when presented with the facts and seems unfamiliar and oblivious with everything that is going on in his ministry. A situation like that creates corruption and puts him in a real serious problem. How does he reconcile in his thought process that we are getting value for money? How can he be sure that our funds are being spent in areas that it should be spent. Is he responsible for his ministry’s budget, if not then who is? How long will this go on? His ministry is falling apart and as I watch this morning it seemed like the Premier is unconcerned. He was sitting through this finance committee meeting with his back to the rest of the LA members fiddling with his phone. This Minister that he placed in this very important position is incapable of carrying out his job and the Premier didn’t even bat an eye.

      • Two Cents says:

        Lol; you expected the individual who parades as Premier to bat an eye. Where have you been? Why you think he chose Seymour to be a Minister?
        Because his huge ego and tiny mind can’t deal with anyone in that role who would stand up to him. There is a long list of evidence – Chuckie Clifford, Arden McLean, Alva Suckoo, Winston Connolly, …
        Clearly Seymour’s performance showed you that he poses no risk of challenging Alden on anything. He is simply a washer; he takes up space Lmao.
        Keep voting for Alden and you will get more of the same.

  21. TruckerZ says:

    If you don’t pay the garbage collectors properly and give them the support they need, what do you expect ???

  22. ... says:

    Jon Jon has overtaken Ozzy as arguably the worst Minister ever in the Cayman Islands. What they share in common is they both relied heavily on the real minister in charge of everything including signing off on OT Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn just connect the dots…

  23. CaymanTactix says:

    Previous minister had garbage trouble this minister has garbage trouble past minister had no trouble no deal no chief officer with connections to Dart! You figure it out Cayman???

  24. Naya Boy says:

    The whole world knows and can see exactly what is going on at DEH why in the world doesn’t the minister see it???

  25. Man about Town says:

    Only if we had chief officers who truly had Cayman at heart right aye???

    • Anonymous says:

      Imagine the mess if she or another one wasn’t there! The Minister does not have a clue what is going on. He is busy being ” uncomfortable ” and “alarmed”

  26. Privatise the system. CIG has proven over the past 5 years that they cannot make this system work and simply to not know how to handle the workers who don’t show up to work on a regular basis. In the private sector, workers who regularly are absent for work would be fired but CIG is incapable of doing such a thing.

    As for the trucks that keep breaking down build, the CIG should build a trade school to train Caymanians in a whole range of trades. There really is no maintenance program for the dump trucks and the workers who maintain the trucks have no training.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but the MECHANICS do have training and they’re qualified. Some more than others, just as you find in any organization.

      Stop spreading disinformation and laying blame where it does not belong.

      You can have as many garbage trucks as you want, with no one to drive them and physically collect your trash, you’re on your own!

      Some of us aren’t sitting around waiting or laying blame, we’re busy acting.

      • Anonymous says:

        Has anyone thought of looking in Watering Place , Cayman Brac for the trucks?

        • Anonymous says:

          Hmmn . . . wonder if those are the ones I see behind the Church near the post office, 5:38 AM you and I must be the only two who have seen them on Cayman Brac

      • 10:15, I am not the one that is spreading disinformation. It is the CIG and numerous Ministers who say that the garbage trucks are always breaking down. So tell me why the new garbage trucks are breaking down after being on island for less than 2 years? Are you saying the CIG is lying?

        In America and Canada, the same type of dump trucks we have on island last between 10 and 12 years before being replaced by new ones. At a million dollars a truck, we cannot seem to get them to run more than 2 years.

        Please enlighten us 10:15 on the situation with the trucks breaking down.

  27. Anonymous says:

    you don’t see nuthin!

  28. Anonymous says:

    The root causes for the horrible decline in the DEH baffles me and I would appreciate clarification for those more knowledgeable than I am in this matter.
    How did a ministry which operated garbage pickup like clock work descend to such chaos?

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 6:56 am , the survival of any Company /business /department is determined by the leadership of it . If there’s no leadership , down it goes just like what you see with the DEH . This Minister needs to be garbage truck driver , not Minister .

  29. Anonymous says:

    He also admits that the sky is blue and water is wet…..

  30. Cayman Ultra says:

    Yes how sad for the minister he is unable to deal and hold all those in his ministry who are responsible for trying to undermine DEH so the private consortium can take full control of garbage disposal. How sad for these islands that those in power are blaming the garbage men because they have so little or no integrity??

  31. Wheely Bin To Hong Kong says:

    Headline better reads “Garbage minister struggles to admit.”

  32. Anonymous says:

    Wow this guy is so quick to get things running smoothly. Our island is in great hands now. Thanks.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Oh my god the minister actually getting an opportunity too talk what happen to the premier and the chief officer for health now?. Where is the thee health authority securities that were put on paid leave?. Who is the real owner of the contracted security company at the hospital?. Is it the minister of health?. Or is it a friend or family member of the minister of health?. Where is the deh director?. It is the public’s purse so the public deserves the answers and the politicians is elected and being paid by the public the politicians needs too stop being selfish and bullish towards the people of this country who elected them election after election and on May 24th 2017.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Blames the staff and goes on to praise his own “achievements” as minister. Politics is cancer.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Joke Joke.

  36. Anonymous says:

    More gibberish.

  37. PD says:

    Good job honorable minister and perhaps you should sack those employees who are not coming into work.

    • Anonymous says:

      You cannot sack ghost employees! He needs to disappear like the director did. Seems as if they only hire ghosts at DEH. Duppy story time again !

  38. Anonymous says:

    muppett. end of story.

  39. Anonymous says:

    in over his head. anywhere else in the world dwayne would be gone long time ago…..but not in this banana republic…..

    • Anonymous says:

      10:02 pm, the minister should explain the dilemma with the ordering of the new trucks. Was his Chief Officer responsible for the delay?? Now is the time for the Minister to tell the public the truth. The truth will set him free, then the light will shine on the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anywhere else in the world he would not be picked for minister of health, environment etc. etc. make a long story short, he would not be picked, period!!

    • Anonymous says:

      we are not a banana republic, banana republics have outputs which are sold to external customers

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