Minister Bodden responds to Compass editorial

Further to your editorial of July 22, 2014, I would like to address yet again some misconceptions that you appear to have and continue to broadcast through your editorials.

We did have a small deep-seated fire at the landfill over the weekend – the crew worked hard to prevent this from becoming a serious issue for us, as has happened in the past – I visited the site on Sunday morning with the Department of Environmental Health director, and the DEH team and fire department had been fighting it since Saturday evening. It was confined to the premises of the landfill, and was not, as your editorial would wish the public to believe, another roaring inferno, billowing smoke all around. No large blaze or smoke was visible. As a result of proper monitoring, this was discovered and early corrective action taken, and I would like to commend the staff and fire department for another excellent job.

Now to address the area that you continue to get factually wrong, and that is to give people the impression that nothing is being done in regard to a waste management solution and strategy for these islands! Far be it from the truth, as this is our single biggest focus in the Ministry, and not an idle campaign promise, as you would like the public to believe. We have just closed the request for proposals process last week for the outline business case consultant and we have six applicants. These will be screened and within a month we should have one selected. I anticipate from that date a further six months (during which public consultation will take place) at max, for a number of alternatives to be given to the government, along with a waste management policy something we have never had for these islands.

Early next year we will see the RFPs for the waste management contractor, and by the summer of 2015 we should see the start of plant construction at the landfill, with finalization by the end of 2016 and the start of operations in 2017! (Contrary to what you keep reporting that the process would only be starting despite the many times I have voiced this timeline – the strategic outline case had the most conservative time frame but this has never been my target dates or that of the Progressives government.) Those are my targets and I believe realistic time frames from day one, and I trust now that you will stop the scaremongering as you seem to enjoy doing. The reference to $100 million, which was in the strategic outline case, merely was saying that any plant will likely cost at least that.

Note, we don’t know what plant or what costs we will end up with, but it won’t be a cost to the Caymanian people – this will be borne by an investor over the long term (at least 20 years), and they will build and operate whatever is deemed suitable.

We don’t think we will have a problem finding solutions and potential strategic partners in this process, so I’m asking once more – please stop the scare tactics! We are busy every day working hard at this and incidentally, a project manager for the job is in the process of being hired right now as well. This will be finalized very soon.

Please find another cause, sir – this one is proceeding with or without your support – we would really love for you to publish more of the good that’s being done, but sadly it appears that this does not fit your agenda –does it?

Editor’s Note: We presume that Mr. Bodden’s and the Compass’s agendas are identical – namely, to remedy this public health threat as expeditiously as possible.

Comments are closed.