Garbage collections throughout the island will return to normal by next week, the Department of Environmental Health has promised.
Following a report by the Caymanian Compass of rubbish piling up across Cayman due to staff shortages, the department has vowed to return to twice weekly collections starting Monday.
Director of Environmental Health Roydell Carter said extra temporary staff would be hired to clear up the backlog, and apologised to the public for the delays.
‘We will be putting on extra shifts, employing temporary workers and streamlining operations in order to restore the timely and efficient collection service that our residents deserve,’ he said.
‘We are also in the process of hiring permanent staff to ensure that there is no recurrence of this situation.’
Mr. Carter added that crews are already on the road working to clear up the garbage backlog.
‘Residents should begin to see a return to the normal twice-weekly pick-up schedule by early next week. I know it has been difficult, but I am asking everyone to bear with us as we work to resolve the problem,’ he said.
Garbage collections are usually done twice a week, but these had been cut back to once a week or less in some areas.
Minister of Community Affairs and Housing Mike Adam, said normally there were eight teams of three staff – one driver and two collectors – but this has been reduced to five teams across the island due to staff shortages over recent weeks.
Mr. Adam, who is temporarily assuming responsibility for the Ministry of Works, said he had met with officials from the Department of Environmental Health to determine the extent of the problem on Tuesday.
‘For some reason, manpower and resources have been depleted to the point where it has caused this problem,’ he said.
The minister did not elaborate on why the staff shortage had occurred, however, Mr. Carter, in an earlier interview with the Compass, said a hiring freeze within the Civil Service for the past year and the departure of some staff had led to the shortages.
Mr. Adam said the teams were currently working double shifts to try to clear up the backlog, and that new staff were being hired and trained.
‘By Monday, collections will be back to twice weekly,’ he said, adding that garbage had been collected in George Town, West Bay and Bodden Town on Tuesday and Wednesday.