Ministry of Environment officials acknowledged last week that there appeared to have been a breakdown in communications over the disposal of derelict vehicles on Grand Cayman.
However, Minister Dwayne Seymour said the trouble should now be resolved and that residents can once again dispose of their old, unused cars at the George Town landfill.
“I can attest that we’ve been bringing derelict vehicles in here now for the past couple of months. I’m not sure what trouble [members of the public are] having bringing derelict vehicles in,” Mr. Seymour said. “If they’re having trouble, they need to contact the department so we can direct them on how to do it properly.”
Ministry Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn said that Department of Environmental Health workers will continue to remove any “red sticker” vehicles – those that have been identified as a public health nuisance.
For those who seek to responsibly dispose of their junked cars, Ms. Ahearn urged them to contact the department before bringing the cars to the landfill.
“If you have a derelict vehicle that’s not a public health nuisance, but it’s something you want to get rid of … what we encourage you to do is contact the department to say ‘I’ve got the derelict vehicle, when can I bring it in?’ It’s better to call ahead when you have large waste like that … so they’re prepared to direct you when you drop It off,” Ms. Ahearn said.
Minister Seymour told the Legislative Assembly last month that the landfill never actually stopped taking derelict vehicles, particularly if those cars posed a public health nuisance.
Those statements were contrary to what government employees told the Cayman Compass last fall. A government press release issued in November noted the old car collection had been “curtailed.”
Mr. Seymour’s statement in late June was met with incredulity by opposition lawmakers, who said they were aware of situations where residents from their districts had attempted to drop off junked cars at the landfill and had been turned away.
Both the minister and Ms. Ahearn acknowledged last week that there may have been some disconnect between what the higher-ups in the department were saying and what employees believed was intended.
Since October, Minister Seymour said the landfill had received 199 derelict cars from around Grand Cayman. He said the ultimate plan with those vehicles was to bale them into scrap and send them overseas for recycling.
The landfill is experiencing challenges with “metal overstock” and at present it simply does not have enough space to keep all the derelict cars on the property, Mr. Seymour said.
However, Mr. Seymour said the tire shredding project under way at the landfill – completed on Wednesday – would allow the Department of Environmental Health to use the tire processing area to store derelict vehicles.