September 28, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Does Mark Scotland really feel he has cleared up ERB dump controversy?

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Hon. Mark Scotland, Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture says he is being victimised.

On CITN/Cayman 27 news on Tues (12) he read a minute from the Water Authority Board meeting stating the Environmental Review Board (ERB) had only been asked to give an assessment of the Dart proposal to establish a new landfill in the Midlands Acres area only. There had been no subterfuge and they had not been told to confine themselves itself to examining the proposal and not to what would be the most suitable overall waste management solution for Grand Cayman.

I really cannot see any difference in the media’s reporting nor can I see how the minister thinks he is being ‘victimised’.

There may not have been explicit orders from government ministers to the ERB to limit what it reviews and not to look at alternate sites or consider other solutions but to look solely at the dart proposition. However, to ask the ERB to review only the Dart proposal equates to the same thing. The ERB did not look at anything else.

The public was of the opinion that the ERB had looked at what was the most suitable waste management solution for Grand Cayman. One would have assumed that this is what any government that is elected to do what is best for the people would have done. Or am I missing something here?

Worst still is the minutes, released by the Water Authority only after a Freedom of Information request, show that Dart proposes only to develop one landfill cell site and no other elements of the new facility on a 100-acre site.

Again, what we were led to believe by government was the Dart proposal was for a modern eco-park but the minutes show Dart is goint to create a new lined cell where the Department of Environmental Health (DoEH) can start a new garbage pile. Any further investment or development of modern waste-management facilities will be in the hands of our government!!

The Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free has persistently asked government to identify clearly the reasons why it ditched its agreement to tender the waste-to-energy facility to solve the George Town landfill problem where it is, without contaminating a new site.

A Coalition spokesman said last week after the minutes were released said, “Government inexplicably ignored due process, transparency, and the Central Tenders Committee (CTC), which recommended the WTE proposal as its first choice. The CTC rejected Dart’s proposal to move the dump and gave it the lowest marks of any option considered, because of ‘grave concern’ about the impact of a dump in an ‘environmentally sensitive’ area. Government and Dart have yet to answer a single Coalition question, or produce any of the documents asked for.”

Neither planning or the National Roads Authority could support the claim by the ForCayman Investment Alliance that any meetings have taken place between Dart and Government about the proposed new Bodden Town landfill. So who was it in government the Alliance spoke to? I am sure they did speak to someone.

Who is top of your list?

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