Public’s patience wears thin with erratic garbage pickups

Trash piles up in the parking lot of an area designated for household waste drop-offs at the George Town landfill site.

Dumpsters at the George Town landfill for people to drop off their own household waste overflowed into the car park Monday.

“I think that was a protest from people,” said North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, who took a photograph of the parking lot covered with trash bags and garden waste.

He said more and more people were having to take their own trash to the landfill because of unreliable roadside collections.

The Department of Environmental Health has acknowledged problems in every district with late roadside pick-ups over the last month but it attributed the pile of refuse to an “unplanned adjustment to the servicing schedule” at the landfill site over the weekend.

“I go up there often because I never know when they are coming to North Side,” said Mr. Miller. “The bins are often full but I have never seen it like this. Everybody had dumped their garbage in the parking area [of the landfill].”

Residents across Grand Cayman have been complaining for some time about inconsistent collections of their garbage. Mr. Miller, speaking Tuesday, said it had been almost three weeks between roadside collections in North Side.

Similar problems have been reported in various districts on and off since before Christmas.

Al Suckoo, MLA for Newlands, circulated pictures of trash piling up by the roadside in his district Wednesday.

He said, “I think we have hit the end of the road as far as this situation goes. Government needs to put some priority on this issue.” Mr. Suckoo is organizing a petition to present to government.

Mr. Miller, leader of the opposition, said it was time for Minister Dwayne Seymour to step in and sort it out.

“The minister and chief officer have ultimate responsibility,” he said. “Nobody knows what has happened to the director. Who is in charge? I am calling on the minister to sort it out.”

Roydell Carter, the director of the Department of Environmental Health, has been on leave since before Christmas. An internal audit service inquiry into the management of overtime in the department has been going on since December.

Mr. Seymour responded to concerns in a statement, saying he was monitoring the situation closely.

“I am fully aware of the ongoing challenges at DEH,” he said. “I realize residents are frustrated when garbage is not collected and share in their concerns.”

He said his ministry was doing everything it could to ensure the garbage schedules were adhered to and urged residents to contact the Department of Environmental Health when trash was not collected.

Mr. Miller said there were clearly systemic issues that needed to be dealt with.

“Whenever we object, they say they are dealing with it and they hope to have a solution next week, and then a few weeks later it’s happening again,” he said.

He added that all residents wanted was a consistent weekly trash collection.

“How hard would it be to put a schedule in the Compass and stick to it?” he asked.

Mr. Suckoo said he was increasingly fielding calls from constituents about late garbage pickups. On certain streets, he said trash was piling up by the roadside.

“People are pretty patient; they don’t complain right away, but when it goes two weeks with no garbage being picked up, they get frustrated,” he said. “I think there are management issues and they have got to sort it out. I don’t want anyone to blame the guys on the road.”

At a meeting on the North Sound Estates neighborhood watch and community group Monday, concern over garbage collections was among the main topics.

Carole Broadbelt, one of the leaders of the group, said Tuesday it had been almost two weeks since the trash had been collected in the area.

She said they had invited the Department of Environmental Health to send a representative to the meeting, but they had declined.

“All the residents want to know what is happening with the garbage pickups?

“We have asked for a roll-top dumpster so there is somewhere to put it until they get back on a regular schedule,” she added.

Stacey Ann-Anderson, public relations officer for the Department of Environmental Health, said all residential communities throughout Grand Cayman had experienced delays in pickups over the past month, though she said it was rare for delays to be longer than 48 hours.

She did not highlight a specific reason for the delays, saying, “Late pickups are usually as a result of resource constraints due to mechanical breakdown or worker absenteeism.”

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  1. Mr Seymour is monitoring the situation , he should be also ashamed of himself to be Health Minister too , for letting the whole Island turning into on big dump .
    How sad of the whole Government that they can be spending big money on this project and talking about spending more big money on cruise ship pier , but can’t get the garbage picked up and disposed of properly .

  2. “Late pickups are usually as a result of resource constraints due to mechanical breakdown or worker absenteeism.”
    Give me a break. Sure this excuse could work for an occasional delay in trash pickup, but late and intermittent pickups have been happening all year.

    Perhaps this is too much for the Caymanian people, but I suggest that if this keeps up, we should take our trash to our representatives, and neatly place it in the front of their homes. Maybe that will get a reaction other than “Um, I understand you plicht, but I just don’t know the reason, and if I did I really would have no resolution”. Let them live with flies, and smells and rodents for a while, and I bet they would discover the problem.

    If the government can’t even get trash picked up, what are we paying them for??

  3. Cayman Compass , why don’t you fix your comment section and post the comments in a timely manner , here my comment is finally posted , but still says that the comment is awaiting moderation . Sometimes these comments on the article you write can be more effective to solving the problem than the article you write .
    One instance , wouldn’t Mr Seymour act more quickly on the garbage problems if 50 people were able to voice their respective opinions on the matter ? In these situations, I always believed that the more people that said what is wrong the better chances it will get fixed .
    Not every article that you write solves the problem, but it brings the problem to light .

  4. Ok, I don’t live on the island, but how hard can it be to FIRE the guilty one(s) that are not collecting the trash? Or FIRE the person(s) responsible for the conflict in schedules? Who owns the trucks? A private party or the Cayman Islands? Get a company or employee people that want to work! If it’s a person in the office, obviously this isn’t the first time they have screwed things up, so fire them. It doesn’t look good for tourists so finding a fast and thorough answer better come fast. And, who is at the landfill guiding cars where to dump? Who is running the loader at the landfill to push the trash along? Geez. Is anyone supervising anyone over there?

  5. Cayman Compass can you please get the Editor to write a good editorial that would shame the hell out of this Government for their incompetence . I am so mad and upset by the way to which this Government are neglecting the People and the Islands , and just doing what they want to just to benefit certain ones .

    How can the Government of the Cayman Islands be talking about building a cruise ship pier , when they can’t even provide the public with a sanitation service ??
    I agree with Rodney suggestion that if this keeps up everyone should dump their garbage at Government Administration building and all politicians homes . I don’t agree with burning of the Police cars , but I agree with the dumping of the garbage .

  6. My last word on this topic.

    I wonder if there is an agreement between the MLAs to allow the trash gather momentum so when the Dart Group announces their Quarter Billion Dollar trash to energy facility, everyone will roll over and say “who cares what it costs? just get it done, and get it done FASH???

    Just wondering.