FNM responds to landfill fire in Nassau

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The Official Opposition
The Official Opposition

(Statement)

The fire at the public landfill continues to rage and wreak unimaginable havoc on the lives of thousands of Bahamians notwithstanding the constant proclamation by the government that remediation is in place. We now call on the government to immediately fix the problem and deal with the dump in the best interest of the Bahamian people.

It is now patently clear that Renew Bahamas, the foreign based company that was given a lucrative sacred deal by the government to manage the landfill has failed miserably and cannot deliver. The inability by this company to resolve these issues has further frustrated residents in the area who live in constant fear of contracting environmental diseases associated with the smoke, toxic gases and pollutants in the atmosphere.

This epic failure by Renew Bahamas is yet another very clear indication that the PLP government has wasted our hard earned monies in this sacred deal.Renew Bahamas had not delivered and thus they have further exposed the government’s lack of commitment to the promotion of health and safety in our communities. More clearly, it demonstrates to the people that environmental and health issues are not given priority by this government.

The performance of the Government at the landfill is almost identical to their performance during the Marathon Rubis oil spill. In the Marathon case the Member of Parliament said he could not inform the residents because he might lose his job; in the case of the landfill the minister of the environment says remediation is in place. How disgraceful!

The FNM and the Bahamian people continue to be concerned about the ability or lack thereof, of this company. Consequently, we demand that the government explains how this company was selected. Additionally, they should also explain how a contract was given without a Request For Proposal (RFP), or Public Tendering. The government is yet to disclose who are the principle owners and shareholders in the company, yet they were given a lucrative contract by the government. What does the government have to hide from the Bahamian people in this deal?

Since the sacred contract was issued the fires have gotten worse with no end in sight. What is even more egregious is the fact that to date, this company has not provided the government or the public with a clearly stated Environmental Management Policy, (EMP). This policy if it were in place would outline the foot prints to success and the strategies that would be used to produce the outcomes. To date, no timelines have been set, no specific goals for remediation have been outlined and no training programmes are in place. These very important things are missing to resolve this crisis and therefore, one is left to conclude that the company is unable to deliver.

Having talked about the potential dangers surrounding the landfill the FNM now challenges the company to provide the public with the Health and Safety Plan for their employees. We are deeply concerned about the manner in which staff members are allowed to work and move about the landfill without the appropriate protective apparatus thus exposing them and their families to toxic materials.We also demand that the government immediately put in place Environmental Air Quality Index to assist the public with air quality information which is required by law in developed countries.

Finally, we urge the government not to treat this very serious issue in the way as they did the oil spill. We demand that they act immediately and deal with this matter.