Solid Waste claims operational challenges are delaying garbage collection; but residents believe that contractors are still owed

Yet again, households across Antigua are complaining about the untimely removal of waste, and the agency responsible for collection is blaming this shortcoming on operational challenges.

In a media release issued on Thursday, May 11, the National Solid Waste Management Authority confirmed that garbage collection in several areas is being affected because of the challenges it faces, resulting in periodic delays.

The areas affected include Crosbies, where some residents say that, in certain areas, waste has not been collected for two weeks now.   Paradise View; Hodges Bay; Upper Gambles; Scotts Hill; Paynters; Golden Grove New Extension and Bethesda are also affected.

Other areas whose collection is delayed are Newfield; Mock Pond, All Saints; All Saints West; Freetown; Bathlodge; Bendals and Bolans.

Meanwhile, residents in other areas tell REAL News that their neighbourhoods are not on the list, but they are also affected.  For example, a householder in Fitches Creek-Weirs says that garbage has not been collected in the community since April.

In the meantime, the Authority is advising those who have not yet had their residential waste collected – whether through a delay or missed collection of the service – to call its hotline number: 562-1347.

Once it has been alerted, the Authority assures, a prompt response for the collection will follow.

While there is speculation on the reason the garbage is not being collected on time, many residents have come to a consensus: that the contractors are not being paid.

Leading up to the General Election, the Gaston Browne Administration had promised that outstanding payments to the haulers would be settled.  And, more recently, Minister of Health Sir Molwyn Joseph reportedly persuaded his Cabinet colleagues to make funds available to pay the small contractors.

It is not known whether this was actually done.