“The path we are on is the closest that the country has ever been to having a waste management solution that will not only help solve the problem that we now call Mount Trashmore, but will ensure that there are no more Mount Trashmores. We are identifying the best way forward as well as finding funding sources.”
– Premier Alden McLaughlin, 2016-2017 Budget Policy Statement

Rummaging through the Premier’s recent talk about the George Town Landfill in the Legislative Assembly, and stripping away all the caveats and promises, we can scavenge a single statement of substance: “[W]e will not have a system in place by the end of this term[.]”

There it is, at last, the white flag of surrender. The treacherous Mount Trashmore has claimed victory over yet another Cayman Islands government administration.

Although the landfill solution will not arise during this government’s dwindling lifespan, Premier McLaughlin said he expects to “see shovels in the ground next year.” Of that, we have no doubt: With the next election less than a year away, there is no greater certainty than the quadrennial spectacle of elected officials wielding gold-colored shovels in any number of districts, breaking ground on a variety of projects that may or may not happen.

In respect to the landfill itself, we’re sure that there are plenty of “shovels in the ground” already – along with spades, rakes, paper, plastic, chemicals and the entire cornucopia of waste generated in this country over the past 25-plus years.

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The Premier said, “I admit that I smile wryly when I hear some in the press and elsewhere repeating over and over – ‘Just fix the dump’. I smile because if the fix was that easy, then past governments would have fixed it already.”

The Premier may claim that Cayman is closer than it’s ever been to a solid waste management solution, but we are highly skeptical. Meanwhile, as our government continues to contract with consultants who, in turn, submit more reports and studies, our eyes are focused on the recently released research, conducted in Italy, that correlates lung and pulmonary disorders (including death) with living close to a landfill.

As our readers, and voters, are well aware, the previous United Democratic Party government had reached an agreement where the Dart Group would take over management of the George Town Landfill, cap it, close it, turn it into a green space and, ultimately, turn it back over to the public – and also create a new lined landfill in the far east corner of the district of Bodden Town (between two quarries, nonetheless) – in exchange for … nothing, except the privilege of beautifying a piece of public property which happens to adjoin Dart’s (and Cayman’s) premier development, Camana Bay.

Not only did Premier McLaughlin and his Progressives government spurn the $60 million proposal after being elected, their Bodden Town candidates made the rejection of the Dart deal a key plank in their campaign platform. Remember, or rather, never forget: “No Dump in Bodden Town!”

The Progressives promised they had an onsite solution for the landfill. But they didn’t, they still don’t and, even if they did, they don’t have the $100 million-plus it is now likely to cost.

So, excuse us, Mr. McLaughlin, for not smiling when the subject of the landfill comes up. As for the face we are making – that’s us, grimacing and wrinkling our noses … at the sight, and the smell, of the single largest hazard threatening the public health of the Cayman population.

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  1. Cayman Compass , we can’t embarrass the Cayman Islands Government about this disgraceful land fill . I think the only thing that we can do to get them to do something about it, is to take it and put it in their front yard , then they might do something about it .

  2. Apart from Zika threat- this landfill issue will kill us. Not just the bad small and negative PR. I mean literally. Didn’t I read a few days ago in the press that the nearby Cayman International School – one of our top schools on island and close to this nasty dump is handing out gas masks to kids?? Until a solution is found- I suppose we all have to stock up on masks to prevent long term irreversible health issues. I suppose we all can buy new lungs and get blood transfusions til the problem fixed. What about property values in all the fancy canal lots and properties along the North Sound? Thank God- me nah living close to this mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All that mercury seeping into the North Sound cant be good. Where do we get our bottled water again??? Recycling North Sound water? This dump has to go and I would encourage the current PPM government to go eat some humble pie and beg Mr. Dart to take over this mess once and for all. You don’t have to be a financial wizard to see you will save yourself USD 100 million and countless lives and medical bills incurred by the nation. Put this money to work- pay down national debt and plug holes in the ticking time bomb called National Pensions which is about to go bust in a few years time. Please stop sitting on your hands or hiring useless consultants which will take you back to first base- which is to go have a talk with Mr. Dart.

  3. Sadly, Alden McLaughlin and his colleagues had the opportunity to tackle this when they were in power before and fluffed it. I remember in 2006 that rather than actually deal with the dump they did things like going to the USA to explore WTE while at the same time ignoring practical solutions including one that would have created a proper re-cycling facility. In fact if you look back it seems they did everything except tackle the problem and when they lost the 2009 election all they left behind was an even bigger pile of trash waiting to be sorted out. This just sounds like history repeating itself.

  4. Yes sadly this land fill will slowly kill us, for those who really know what is happening underneath, and I am sorry for the people living close by.
    The dump situation could have been fixed, but the PPM came up with a “Voters Plan” and the people of Bodden Town took it, “Hook Line and Sinker” Yes I remember every body going down to slaughter by the PPM “No Dump in Bodden Town” Private held meetings fooling the people that truck loads of garbage would be hauled up here every day from all over the island and from the dump creating a Dump in this district. Most people never wanted to hear the facts as to what would take place, and now we are still faced with a Mount Trash more.
    The Bodden Town progressive Government promised, and bellowed from podiums and side walks, that so many bad thing was going to take place by putting the dump in the area designated, and had the people revived up and ready to fall into a ravine of untruth.
    Still three years later no solution, no plans and half the crowd is still drunk with the Kool-Aid.
    So what will the people be told this year, what are the plans to get re-elected? I once heard a politician tell the people of Bodden Town “If you dress up a broom stick in bodden town, they will vote for it.” I smile to myself, at those who do not even realize that was an insult to the people.
    Bodden Town has many people who are wise and intelligent, so let us see how they use it this time round. We need a change, but “Be careful” Sheep can come in wolf clothing.

  5. Cayman Compass , can you give an official count of how many ” consultant reports ” has been done on the GT dump sense that has become a political football ?
    I think that number is about a 100 , and nothing has been done about the dump, say that the politicians are using it in away to get money to their political campaign supporters.

  6. Someone has a plan, Cayman Climate Controls Ltd is starting this week, a campaign that will allow for the replacement of all throw away air filters with permanent ones can last a lifetime when well maintained. It is expected that a quantity equal to a 20 feet container load of filters is being disposed into the landfill on a monthly basis. Would that be considered as a small but real concrete plan?

  7. Step 1: Through the bums out.
    Step 2: Consider the fact that in today’s environment, LANDFILLS are rarely opened anywhere, and they are being replaced by efficient and clean environmentally safe Waste To Energy Facilities. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WTE plants are a “clean, reliable, renewable source of energy” that generate electricity “with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity.” In fact, WTE plants improve air quality by decreasing the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil.
    Step 3: Encourage the newly elected government to approace DART once again, hat in hand if necessary to partner with the government in design, constructiona and operation of this new facility.
    Sept 4: Keep the Bums out of office for the rest of their lives.

    See, not so difficulat is it?

  8. It’s encouraging to understand that new WTE’s will be the solution. That the WTE’s solve the problems of OLD landfills. BUT, how does the fact that the old landfill will still be over 80 FT high and counting? That it will still be seen from Cruise ships at sea.
    Won’t we still be stuck with a landfill mountain? Won’t it still catch fire? Will it not still keep on leaching into the groundwater, the sea in the North Sound? So by moving it to any other part of the island will it not still continue to create more problems? I heard that another landfill area on the other islands filled up with rainwater and the workers decided to puncture so it could go into the soil? If thats true what guarantees would landholders around a WTE have to secure that from happening near their property? If a WTE has no problem and you all feel that by moving it SOMEWHERE else then where it is now, Would you offer your neighborhood please?