With garbage piling up across the country, waste-haulers attached to the National Solid Waste Management Authority settled in at the Cooks Sanitary Landfill today for their third day of protest action.
Coming out of an initial meeting with the haulers today, February 9, Hugh Joseph, a representative of the Antigua & Barbuda Trades and Labour Union, shared some of what transpired with REAL News correspondent George Wehner.
Joseph says the meeting allowed the striking haulers to ventilate their frustrations over the Authority’s failure to pay them outstanding money.
Also speaking to REAL News this morning was the Authority’s General Manager, Daryl Spencer. Here, he explains the agency’s tardiness in meeting its financial obligations.
Asked about the sums outstanding and how long the haulers have been waiting, Spencer seemed unable to recall the amounts owed; but he did confirm that the arrears date back to 2020.
Meanwhile, this was his response to how the continued protest action has affected waste-collection across the island.
Jumping on the “blame-it-on-COVID” bandwagon, Spencer also says the pandemic has narrowed the fiscal space and created many challenges for the Authority.
However, citizens are quite aware that the challenge of paying contractors has been a long-standing matter for the agency.