Garbage workers on overtime to catch up

| 03/01/2019 | 32 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Garbage collection workers at the Department of Environmental Health worked double shifts on Thursday and officials said that this would continue through to at least Saturday, 5 January, to address delays in rubbish collection in George Town and the Eastern Districts. Despite bringing in a new management team from other parts of the civil service to address problems of staff absenteeism and allegations of overtime abuse, and to adopt better management of equipment, it appears that the ministry responsible is still struggling to tackle the same problems more than a year on.

Despite pushing out the director, taking disciplinary action against some workers and parachuting in two experienced public sector managers (Richard Simms from the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services and Mark Bothwell from the Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit) the challenges don’t seem to be going away.

According to a short release from Government Information Services, the latest delay to garbage pick-up is due to problems that arose in late December, when three trucks had to be taken out of service.

“The vehicles are currently awaiting parts to be shipped from overseas,” ministry officials said. “DEH is currently working with the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services to ensure that repairs take place as quickly as possible.”

The news of three trucks failing comes just over a month after Dwayne Seymour, the minister responsible for the DEH, said that he had canceled previous orders for new equipment because the trucks were not the problem.

Seymour told the Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly at the end of November that he had shelved plans to buy trucks after he discovered that equipment failings had nothing to do with the issues plaguing the garbage collection service and said the previous troubles had been down to poor management. He also claimed that his ministry had now got to grips with garbage collection, as well as the endless management and staffing challenges and runaway budget.

But the news that DEH workers will be back on double shifts follows claims that the massive budget overruns of some 800% last year were due to the abuse of overtime. Seymour had also told members of the Legislative Assembly that prisoners were to be trained to provide back-up for rubbish collection, which would in future remove the need for people to work overtime.

However, the department is now stating that staff will be working double shifts for at least the rest of this week to get back to the normal garbage collection schedule, beginning in West Bay on Monday, 7 January.

Officials said additional shifts would be added if needed to meet this goal. In the meantime, once again, the department apologised to affected residents.

Anyone with garbage collection issues can call the DEH office on 949-6696 or email

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Category: Environmental Health, Health

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if they didn’t drive the trucks like race cars they wouldn’t break down so often.

  2. nauticalone says:

    I was at Cayman Kai yesterday afternoon and the garbage is spilling over the tops and around almost every container. This is some of the most expensive real estate in Cayman, with lot’s of Cayman’s repeat and new visitors. Many short term too…who are now often arriving to last weeks / last guests garbage to greet them.
    Come on CIG….this isn’t rocket science! Get this sorted out now! How can you even think / speak of wanting to increase tourist arrivals? You MUST get this sorted first! And be consistent!….just like you need regular consistent police traffic patrols!…again this is NOT rocket science!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gravy train.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t they just be making up the paid hours they didn’t work while the trucks were broken?

    • Anonymous says:

      If you work more than 8hrs a day (or whatever the number) by Law that counts as overtime pay. Doesn’t matter if you worked 0 hours the day before. Even moreso if you come in to work, your computer/truck is broken so the boss assigns you something else for the day, then you work double-hours the next day after the computer/truck is fixed.

      • Anonymous says:

        12:54 Which is exactly why the trucks are always getting broken. Simple solution to this kind of nonsense – privatize it all and put them on zero hours contracts. That way they have to work to get paid. This is what’s wrong with the public sector.

  5. Bertie : B says:

    these are not Garbage Men , they are sanitary engineers .

  6. anonymous says:

    I wonder if they have picked up any pre-Colombian artifacts, I understand there are quite a few lying around at present

  7. Anonymous says:

    7.57am Don’t give up. Just keep trying.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So they don’t do their jobs properly and now get paid overtime to sort out the problems theiy caused. Another day in Absurdistan.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Who here is paying for the garbage removal? When I lived in a strata based complex it was incorporated into the monthly quarterly rates. I recently moved to a stand alone house and when I asked the previous owner to ask how to go about paying for collection they told me they had tried 10 years ago but nobody got back to them so they hadn’t paid a penny since.. If you’re not paying for it don’t complain about it! First thing the DEH needs to do is make sure they can actually collect $ for the service (no matter how rubbish it is – pardon the pun) and then when there is money in the coffers they can invest in new trucks and staffing levels. Draw a line and start from now as they’d waste too much time trying to collect any back dues, make it affordable and as easy as possible to pay (online/via an ATM/standing order/annual/monthly). As my Granpa said, “pay nothing, get nothing” but takes some nerve to complain about a system which wasn’t supposed to be free!

    • Anonymous says:

      FYI in previous years we were ( at least I was) paying a yearly garbagefee every year. I understand that the leader of government then, Mr. mckeeva Bush cancelled the payment and at the same time put a tax on fuel for all residents to compensate for the garbage tax. So yeah, we were paying and indirectly still paying the garbage tax.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are paying via the import duty, i.e. included in the price you pay at a store. Strata’s pay to rent a skip and have it emptied. Not a “garbage fee”. Same for commercial buildings.

  10. Tom says:

    DEH need sale commerical garbage business as it proof they can’t do everything! Private garbage are doing better job that jobsworth civil servants!

  11. Anonymous says:

    These guys have it figured out… They don’t do anything until there’s a massive problem then they rake in the overtime $$. Am I the only one who sees what’s going on here!?

    • Anonymous says:

      No. The auditor general said exactly the same thing. Then the government said they would stop it. Then they didn’t. It seems the choices are – pay the garbage workers OT, or they don’t pick up your garbage. Alternative may be to get some different garbage men, but apparently you cannot fire anyone in the civil service.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s callled Mangement with No Management Skills— it is as contagious as the flu, spreading rapidly across the public and private sectors.

  12. Anonymous says:

    These guys are hopeless and getting worse!!!

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. Cayman 33 says:

    It”s obvious … government just don’t want to spend money on garbage collection!


    • Anonymous says:

      10:24 While collecting our garbage pick up fees and refusing to give us a refund for services not provided. We pay for service twice a week pick up but get nothing.

      And CIG wants to spend over $200 million on a new port? This is CRAZY.

    • Jotnar says:

      By paying overtime they are in spending MORE tax payers money not less. More an unwillingness to make and execute difficult management decisions. Just pathetic. How can you say you ca run a government with a budget of over half a billion when you cannot even organise garbage collection?

  15. Anonymous says:

    We cut my household garbage “output” in half by using the recycling facilities. Now a pickup every 2 weeks works OK. We do not fill up our single bin every week.

    Sometime we the people need to look at what makes our community/country better rather than moan.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. Just recycling plastic, bottles and paper cut ours down significantly. Everyone can do their part. If they just try.

      • Anonymous says:

        I recycle as well. I also have two specific areas in my backyard where I throw the kitchen peelings and spoilt fruits and veggies as well as paper and now I have an abundant crop of tomatoes and peppers etc that sprouted up. A win- win situation. I also use the falling leaves to mulch the trees and shrubs. Anyone with a private yard can do it.

        • Anonymous says:

          We do the same. Between recycling and composting, our family of 4 barely produces half a large bin of garbage per week.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t overtime mandatory for this government department ? I heard one garbage collector salary could challenge an attorneys ..Roydel?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Back in the day we did not have garbage trucks to collect garbage. It was burnt. Stop complaining and lets burn our garbage. Bet they would find a solution then..

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