The promise that must be kept

In May 2013, the Progressives came into power on a pledge (No dump in Bodden Town) and a promise (an onsite solution for the George Town Landfill). The pledge they have kept. The promise … we shall see.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the landfill burst into flames and smoke yet again. This is an event that should surprise no one who is familiar with other repetitive occurrences — such as, for example, the rising and setting of the sun, or the ebb and flow of the tides — that will continue with some regularity so long as the natural order of things remains fundamentally unchanged.

For the past two years, the government has focused on process — establishing committees and hiring consultants — aimed at achieving their vision of a “comprehensive solid waste management system” that will serve the Cayman Islands for the next half-century.

However, while officials continue to talk, the dump continues to grow — and ignite.

Indeed, Sunday’s blaze was the latest in a series of reminders of the scuttling of the $60 million deal with Dart which would have remediated Grand Cayman’s “Old Faithful” once and for all.

We are concerned particularly and primarily with human health risks, which remain unknown (and perhaps unknowable) in regard to the dump when it is in its “dormant” state, but which become patently apparent whenever Mount Trashmore erupts into plumes of noxious and toxic smoke.

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Following the repudiation of Dart’s offer two years ago, the process appears to have regressed, once again, to the study stage. (Surely our landfill must be among the world’s most thoroughly studied mounds not associated with an ancient archaeological dig.)

The country has been told that fixing the landfill will cost more than $100 million and take five years to bring about.

The key question is, and always has been, whether Cayman can come up with either the money — or the financing — in the context of the U.K.’s Framework for Fiscal Responsibility.

We suspect the government is wrestling more with financial and political concerns than technological or even environmental roadblocks. It is difficult to believe such a pressing issue would remained unaddressed if the resources were at hand.

Fortunately, Cayman has in residence an incredible pool of experts — attorneys, investors or deal-doers — who might assist government in putting together a viable funding package for this critical need. Government should not hesitate to call upon their expertise.

Since election day, the George Town landfill has been the Progressives’ cross to bear. Some recent occurrences, however, have served to shift that burden’s weight onto new shoulders.

When Premier Alden McLaughlin reshuffled Cabinet duties after Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden’s verbal tirade at his chief officer, he added responsibility for the landfill to his own portfolio.

This could prove to be an opportunity for the premier to move the solution in new directions — both geographical and perhaps political.

We know that Premier McLaughlin spent his Sunday afternoon at the landfill, watching over the efforts of our firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

We suspect he would have preferred to spend his weekend differently, say, on his bike or with his family. We venture that all of us in Cayman would share that sentiment. 

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  1. Surely our landfill must be among the world’s most thoroughly studied mounds not associated with an ancient archaeological dig.

    The above sentence is hilarious! I like it.

    Hospitals, pharmacies, labs have become a major source of nuclear waste in the United States, producing and storing millions of radioactive materials each year.

    How is it managed in the Cayman Islands? Who officially monitors the disposal of radioactive and hazardous waste? Where and how is it stored and disposed of?

    It can’t be in the famous Dump, then where is it?