Local waste-management contractors furious about engagement of foreign company and fear they will be displaced

Some contractors with the National Solid Waste Management Authority are reportedly angry and feeling threatened since the Cabinet announced its plans to engage the Barbados-based firm INNOTECH.

According to Thursday’s Cabinet Notes, the company made a video presentation to the Executive, in which it demonstrated its waste-management capabilities.

The recording reportedly showed garbage-disposal containers on wheels, as well as garbage trucks that had been retrofitted to lift these heavy containers.

“The containers each have a barcode/strip that, when scanned, provides the household location and the quantum of waste that the household generates each week,” the Notes say. 

But speaking to REAL News on Friday morning, one angry man expressed his amazement at the Cabinet’s apparent embrace of INNOTECH: “Wait! Is rubbish and all they planning to take away from Antiguans?” he asks.

He points to the number of local operators who are now providing such services to National Solid Waste and alleges that they are already facing competition from trucks owned by Government Ministers.

“And on top of that, people have to wait for weeks and months to get paid,” he says – a complaint that was voiced by striking haulers earlier this year. “It’s millions they owe [certain operators],” he adds.

The man says it would be unconscionable if the Administration were to engage INNOTECH at a time like this, when so many local businesses still have not caught themselves after the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And if the Government does hire the company, it is because members of the Cabinet have a vested interest in the contract, the man claims. “Nobody can tell me different!” he declares.

No mention of the tendering process was made in the Cabinet’s report.