TCI News

TCI: Government back in charge of ‘unstable’ dumpsites; CDB to help and new company to be hired

#Providenciales, November 30, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government is temporarily managing the country’s two largest landfills which were once operated by Turks and Caicos Environmental Management, TCEM a private company and four weeks on there are problems including fires, security breaches and noxious odors.

Premier Sharlene Robinson confirmed that the contract was not renewed between TCEM and TCIG and that bids will go out to tender for a new company to come in and do the work.

“The Government is not going to be in a position to handle this job, the expertise and everything that is required is not within the Government. But the Government is maintaining the site and bringing it to a state of readiness and we are going out to tender,” she added, “Government is going to be maintaining the site for the new bidder; that should be out shortly if it hasn’t gone out already under the Ministry of Health.”

The prevailing concern is that all of this will take time and the natives are understandably restless.

Magnetic Media explained concerns to the Premier, who listened, attentively.  As the wife of a former Public Health Director of the Turks and Caicos, Mrs. Lorne Robinson admitted the handling of the dilemma is a delicate juggling act of giving the immediate relief residents deserve, even while her administration aims to solve the issues related to solid waste management across the country.

“We are doing a comprehensive study. Turks and Caicos cannot continue with a short term fix to dump sites especially after the storms, it should have become more important to the people of the country to understand that we have to have a comprehensive solid waste management system and these talks with CDB believe it or not started about 20 years ago.”

The Caribbean Development Bank consultation is in the early stages.  Still required is approval at the Cabinet level and passage of the loan from CDB for consultation through the House of Assembly.

“Following the storm we had the major challenge of large amounts of waste and different types of waste so we have to look at recycling, we have to look at certain bans which I am looking at.  So it is a holistic approach. Banning non bio-degradable waste; looking at the recycling of bottles which we really don’t need to be dumping at the site and causing explosions; looking at the large waste of fridge and stoves and cars. All of these things, so, it is a very comprehensive approach.”

Meanwhile, there are fires, reports of coal kilns re-activated, discarded tires continuing to mount and questionable security at both the premises.

Over the weekend in Providenciales, some residents of Belglade Parker Gardens also known as phase one subdivision were forced to move out for the day.  On Tuesday, Grand Turk’s dump was a raging inferno.  We asked the Premier what can be done about the potential risks to communities neighbouring these dump sites.

“I don’t understand, to be honest with you, the (problems with) security at the dumpsite because it is properly fenced, there is a guard house and it was always our concern when people were intentionally going in and lighting.  So with the Government back on, we have to up the security at the site because people are dumping and not dumping where they are supposed to and we don’t do slash and burn, but it is a situation where we have landfills and we cover.”  The Premier added that, “I am sure it is a matter of just managing… because if you have a stench, then eventually you are going to have flies.”

There was a promise by the Premier to follow up with the Minister of Health Edwin Astwood and there was a promise to improve dialogue with the people who live and work along the perimeter of these unstable landfills.

“It is important to have that dialogue and I know that the Minister (Delroy Williams) who is responsible as the elected member for that area has requested a meeting with the community and I am pretty sure that his colleague (Edwin Astwood) will honour that and so it will happen.”

Late on Tuesday night, TCEM issued a statement saying their contract for dump site management was not renewed; that it had been cancelled since October 28, 2018.

There was no official notice from TCIG that the TCEM dump management contract was not renewed.


Header: Smouldering Providenciales Dump, photo taken November 28, 2018

Insert: Hon. Sharlene Robinson




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