Prisoners to act as back-up for garbage pick-up

| 19/11/2018 | 35 Comments
Cayman Islands, Cayman News Service

HMP Northward inmates participating in roadside clean-up

(CNS): Inmates at HMP Northward are being trained to collect garbage so that they can assist the Department of Environmental Health if there are future staff shortages or absenteeism to avoid the situation Cayman has endured for the last year of constant delays to rubbish pick-up. The minister responsible for the department, Dwayne Seymour, admitted that the entire garbage collection fiasco had become embarrassing and he was pleased with the initiative to use low-risk, trained prisoners as assistant waste collectors by the new management at the landfill and avoid the problem of rubbish piling up in the streets at Christmas, as it did last year. 

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Seymour said the inmates would not be driving trucks but would be riding on the back or clearing roadsides. He said there would be no risk to the community and that the inmates would be supervised. This would help them in their transition back into society when they are released and they would all be assessed before they joined the garbage teams, he said.

“We have to try,” he told the parliament. “If it doesn’t work, then we will change our strategy.”

The DEH continues to battle with performance problems of some staff and their failure to turn up for work on a regular basis, and Seymour noted that the lengthy internal disciplinary process for civil servants means they cannot just be fired.

Seymour told his colleagues that he, too, was frustrated over the pace by which the staff challenges were being handled, but he said it was important to treat these Caymanian government workers fairly and ensure they were treated in accordance with the public service law.

“I don’t hire and fire,” Seymour said, acknowledging that it was taking a long time. “It is embarrassing for our country that we have a national problem such as this and it couldn’t be remedied as quick as possible,” he added, indicating that things he could not reveal were happening behind the scenes.

Seymour said that having prisoners trained as assistants would mean they could step up whenever there are staff problems and prevent collections from falling behind, adding that they could also engage in roadside clean-ups.

He called for the implementation of some form of direct ticketing system for littering, noting that people throw garbage out of their car windows.

Despite recent concerns that government was attempting to privatise garbage collection by contracting private sector companies to pick up  garbage when the DEH was failing to meet its obligations, Seymour assured the House that the Department of Environmental Health is collecting all the garbage.

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Category: environmental health, Health

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The DEH is out of money or what is the deal they can’t hirer unemployed people from the NWDA or send out post for available job position.
    The prison is the new hirering agency and the legistive assembly should be the real prison..

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Something positive! Garbage pick-up in our area is scheduled for Wednesdays. DEH came at 4:15 am today and collected it. Thanks DEH! The other good news is that their truck drowned out the noise from the roosters! 🙂

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  3. Anonymous says:

    regardless of the legality of all this, just goes to show the entitled nation at it’s best. A job is job, sure we’d all like to be fancy lawyers earning $2m a year but life doesn’t work like that. Given all these ‘unemployed’ there should be absolutely no need to use the prison workforce. I’d also like to know how this impacts the private sector, using slave labour, which is effectively what it is, must put them at an unfair competitive advantage?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Prisoners doing the pick up of garbage??? Are we missing something here??? What about all those “so called unemployed Caymanians”. Shall we be reminded of poor Sabrina? So who is going to watch the prisoners…I don’t want hear anymore about the poor unemployed Caymanians from Government

  4. Anonymous says:

    The majority of these comments are so negative. Haven’t we sat back and considered why so many of us lay in captivity but isn’t at Northward Prison? Yep! for the same reason we find everything negative to say of our own, everything to put our own down but can’t uplift and embrace each other. Sad situation.
    I believe the Ministry should have explained in further detail the category of inmates that would be subject to this opportunity. Failing to so, have lead to all sorts of unnecessary comments and doubts.
    Caymanians need to embrace and encourage each other moreso as times are changing rapidly.
    It’s easy to see that if we as Caymanians don’t want to work then rightfully the employers can arrange to import workers to do the job – including garbage truck collectors and drivers….. then what sqawkers?????

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  5. Anonymous says:

    I will take my own garbage to the dump if they will keep the prisoners in jail where they belong.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The appointed leadership should be on the back of the trucks, Minister and Chief Officer included. That is how you lead by example.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Great. Imagine. A sure fire way for criminals to find out which homes are unoccupied due to absent owners or persons being on vacation. Anyone thinking this stuff through? Anyone? Bueller?

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  8. Demon says:

    this only going let the inmates get there drugs..
    they go out on work clean u and the drugs be hide on the location they going clean…..prison a be loaded with weed now…lmao…

    I would know I just got out of there..

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  9. west bay king says:

    Oh well I guess this is the job Caymanians are qualified for.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    about damn time we had some creativity in CIG!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I pass a group of prisoners picking up garbage and the security guard was in the truck relaxing!! Go figure.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Good. Now get them cleaning all the beaches around the island that are left neglected all year round. We can make Cayman beautiful again.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    I used to know a woman that would meet up in the bush for a tryst with her imprisoned druggie bf when he was allowed out for road cleanup.
    Good times.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Work-release for all of those under house arrest wearing an ankle monitor too. This isn’t rocket science. This is done all over the world. Finally someone has cracked the spine of the “how to run a corrections system” handbook…

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  14. Anonymous says:

    How could they give the Director of Prison the praise for coming up with the idea to have the prisoners collect the garbage around the island when for years now a lot of use have over and over again mentioned the same idea to our MLA’s and Director’s of DEH and other members of Government. But they thought that we where out of our minds to think of such an idea. GO FIGURE

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  15. Mike says:

    Good initiative MLA Seymour! In the Bahamas, low risk prisoners are to be seen regularly cleaning the police stations, saving good money! The beaches should be included in this new move. Use them on the annual Christmas clean-up campaign as well to make sure all that unsightly domestic rubbish like furniture, mattresses, appliances etc are all gone by Christmas. On a lighter note, I am sure these inmates would be glad of the “breeze out.”

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  16. Anonymous says:

    well they can’t be any worse than regular civil servants…..

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    • land crab says:

      2.28am We should train these Northward stalwarts to assist our civil servants in their jobs so they have more time to run thir own businesses in Government time. This way at least we can get someone to answer the phone.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Minister you may say that you do not have anything to do with the hiring and firing. But alot of the populist which are voters in the cayman islands are not fools. They know that when it is at the politicians convenience they sure well have a say and their way in firing and hiring who they wantand when they want. Mr. Minister the people that failed and are failing is the chief officer for health, ministry for health senior employees and the the environmental health solid waste, landfill management and the intentional abusive employees that received the eye soaring, unbelievable, impausible records of over-time money. Which they were indentified in the environmental health auditor report that were released to the public on October 1, 2018 and they still have their jobs. In which the chief officer for health made a statement in that report that the matter is stilling being investigated. Mr. Minister you are the minister for health and you know about all of the employees including the chief officer for health who has failed the cayman islands and you continue too try and cover-up and the garbage collectors and other low paid environmental health employees has being and continue to get blamed and fired for and recently as to be drug tested at work by the health authority employees. Mr. Minister you are acting as if the people in the cayman islands are fools. Mr. minister for health also as to go as far as taking the prisoners as scape goats to save the jobs of the chief officer for health, ministry for health senior staff and all of the persons that were mentioned above in this CNS post. The people that has failed and still failing the cayman islands with the garbage problem.

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  18. Careful says:

    I have concerns in regards to the security of homes and potential increased robberies by such prisoner marking homes and passing on information to their network of operatives. . As such I would hope that a heavy vetting process is done before such prisoner is out on the road. At least those involved in minor crimes only and no prior criminal record.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Bad idea.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Get them to move the hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic all over Little Caymans beaches.

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  21. Elvis says:

    Another great idea by Mr Barrett

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I am all for rehabilitation and re-entryback in the society but this is a horrible idea. Cleaning the roadside with prison officers supervising is perhaps doable but I do not think they should be riding on the back of the trucks unless a prison officer is also hanging on the back with them. I do not think that will bide well for the officers. How will they be supervise if they are moving around the island on the back of the trucks? Will they be wearing prison uniforms or DEH uniforms? . Mr. Minister please rethink this before going any further with this idea. Please do not forget what happened at the Wilderness in the East End interior a few years ago.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    This is a good initiative. There should also be a team of collectors to collect and dispose carcasses of dead animals that litter the highways and byways. Make it happen
    Mr. Seymour!

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