Bahamas Environment Minister responds to Bahamas Waste claim
Nassau, Bahamas – I wish to update the public on the government’s policy and my ministry’s initiatives to improve the quality of service in residential waste collection.
Upon taking office I informed the Bahamian people of the state of the government’s fleet of garbage collecting trucks. I also have on numerous occasions spoke to the fact that this administration was able to negotiate the price per household from $5.00 to $2.50.
In 2011 the then administration made the decision to outsource garbage collection within the inner city to three companies namely, Bahamas Waste, Impac and United Sanitation. At that time the house count in those areas was 12,949 and the contracted companies were paid $5.00 per house. It was discovered since my taking office that the government was still being billed based on the 12,949 house count when it should have been 8,476 houses based on updated data. This correction affected Bahamas Waste Limited with a loss of 3,938 houses. At that time they were collecting in 3 areas and have since been contracted for an additional five areas which makes Bahamas Waste the holder of the largest number of routes outsourced by the government for residential garbage collection.
The house count oversight was costing the Bahamian people approximately $2 million since 2011. The measures presently being initiated by the DEHS as pertains garbage collections will save the people of this country approximately $500,000 a year.
The garbage collection contracts are entered into by the contracted company and the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS). These are month to month contracts renewable at that frequency. All contracts are renewed based on performance and the discretion of the DEHS as per the contract. In December 2013 the DEHS did not renew the contract with Bahamas Waste to cover the collections in Fort Charlotte and even with this adjustment Bahamas Waste still services more routes than any other provider. Additional companies were also contracted at that time to further assist the government with garbage collection.
My ministry and the DEHS are committed to providing the Bahamian people with quality service and thus we are putting measures in place to ensure that value for money is received as much as possible. We are currently working to correct more of the issues that we have come across such as the practice by some companies of mixing commercial and residential waste in an attempt to avoid tipping fees at the New Providence Landfill. The ministry is also looking into improvements to the weighbridge at the New Providence Landfill to boost government revenue.