Dump review committee packed with civil servants

All but three of the 16 members named to the waste management steering committee work for government entities, the Caymanian Compass has confirmed.  

Of the three nongovernment employees, one is Bodden Town MLA and Progressives party backbencher Alva Suckoo. The two designated private sector representatives, Woody DaCosta and Ray Farrington, unsuccessfully ran for elected office with the Progressives in West Bay last year.  

Health Minister Osbourne Bodden, whose remit includes responsibility for the George Town landfill and who recently announced the appointments in the Legislative Assembly, said he would not be a member of the steering committee, to ensure its work was “neutral and free from political involvement.”  

The committee, which was recently appointed, will be led by Mr. Bodden’s chief officer in the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth and Culture, Jennifer Ahearn.  

Other members include: Health Ministry deputy chief officer Nancy Barnard, ministry administrative officer Sheila Alvarez, Department of Environmental Health Assistant Director Maysson Sallam, Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie, Senior Assistant Financial Secretary Anne Owens, DOE environmental assessment officer Wendy Williams, Public Works project manager Jim Scott, Kiran Kumar of the Public Health department, Water Authority Cayman Director Gelia Frederick van Genderen, Hendrik van Genderen of the Water Authority Cayman, Planning Department Director Haroon Pandohie and Public Works Director Max Jones. 


Mr. Bodden said the committee began meeting in late January and will have periodic meetings on the landfill management issue, from which he will be given regular updates that he will pass along to Cabinet members. 

“Cabinet is relying on this steering committee to provide government with their best economic advice, to take responsibility for business issues associated with the project, to approve budgetary and procurement strategy, to define the realized benefits and to monitor the risk, quality and timeliness of the comprehensive waste management system,” Mr. Bodden said.  

“This will be a fairly lengthy process,” the minister added. 


The committee will be responsible for all aspects of a comprehensive waste management strategy for Cayman, not just the George Town landfill, which has ballooned to an 80-foot high mass of garbage and which has been the site of two large dump fires in the past six weeks. 

A plan to seal the landfill site in George Town and open a new site in Midland Acres was shot down by Minister Bodden early in the Progressives government administration.  

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush queried who, apart from two private sector members already on the steering committee, would provide professional, independent advice to the ministry on the landfill issue.  

“I would advise [Minister Bodden] to move quickly to get waste management knowledge outside of what we have,” Mr. Bush said.  

Private sector 

Mr. Bodden said the private sector would be co-opted as the government’s steering committee moves through the review process.  

The minister said in January that government would deal with the George Town landfill problem “in situ,” meaning the landfill will remain where it is.  

Mr. Bodden also noted that any proposal would have to be undertaken in a public-private partnership arrangement and follow proper bidding procedures according to a U.K.-ordered fiscal framework. 

“The urgency of this matter has not escaped us,” said Mr. Bodden. “Our government has identified a comprehensive waste management system as a project of national importance.” 


In December 2013, Cabinet approved general policy guidance for the project.  

The guidelines stipulated that government would provide the Cayman Islands with a “sound and cost-effective means” to manage the disposal of all solid waste and that any solution must be done at no greater cost than what is currently spent on solid waste management. 

Long-term plans for public waste would include recycling and could involve waste-to-energy options, Minister Bodden said. “Waste-to-energy is the way we would like to see this go,” he said. 

However, Mr. Bodden said he would not rule out other options if they made more financial sense for government. 


Minister Bodden’s landfill committee has three PPM members.


  1. And how many of these people have the expertise needed to direct such a major undertaking and more so what makes them qualified to lead such a project.

    I fear the cart is already in place and we are waiting for the horses to fall in place or at least some part of the horse.

    Hire a consultant who knows what they are doing and lets not spend a load of money and scrap the idea at a later at the expense of the public. Do what you know and don’t pretend you do know. Weve had enough of this already.

  2. This is a urgent national health and safety issue. Children at the adjacent school were coughing from the smoke yesterday and today the school is closed. The current majority government is clearly conflicted as it needed the Bodden town votes to attain the majority, and now it is just again researching and forming committees instead of recognizing the urgent need for action. Perhaps the involvement of the Governor would be helpful, as a matter of national health and safety to immediately cap and rectify the landfill, as the local government is hamstrung by promises made.

  3. Len,
    What qualifies them is that one way or the other they answer to Ozzie. Funny how he said no politicians would be on the committee. He should have also said no one with experience. Why not include the people already in the recycling business in Cayman.

  4. Tracey McGregor, you raise an excellent point. The dump has been growing, festering and burning for years now and all previous governors have just ignored it.
    I was always led to believe that those who govern are qualified and capable of making the best decisions for the good of the people. Alas, it appears I was sorely mistaken.
    I sincerely hope that Ms. Kilpatrick bucks the trend of the limp-wristed, semi-oblivious, cocktail party crowd we have had the misfortune of hosting before, but I am not holding my breath.
    One only needs to read the Home Office website to see where our new Governor’s priorities lie. She is more concerned with Equality, Diversity and Discrimination. I am not sure she will have the time to deal with such an insignificant problem as the dump.

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