The Barbuda Council is being asked to account for the alleged failure to make adequate use of a costly mobile shredder, handed over one year ago.
The shredder, which was provided under the European Union (EU) funded Housing Support to Barbuda project, is capable of processing construction waste at a rate of 20 tonnes per hour.
One year ago, 25 persons completed training on the shredder at the landfill site in Codrington.
However, Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Senator Knacyntar Nedd, speaking during the budget debate yesterday, suggested that the machine is not being used to clean up the landfill.
“Why is it that the landfill is packed to capacity and it cannot hold any more waste? Is it true that the shredder is still in the container up at the landfill not being used? What is the issue?” asked Nedd.
The industrial shredder is used to process aggregates and debris and can be used with wood, glass, asphalt, concrete and iron. The equipment, which is the only one of its kind in the sub-region, has been the subject of dispute, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne suggesting it could be put to great use in Antigua.
In January 2020, Barbuda MP Trevor Walker warned he would not allow the central government to relocate the shredder to Antigua, saying, “they are gonna have to call army and the whole police force to get it out of Barbuda”.
Senator Nedd, a Barbudan who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Barbuda Affairs, said a year after it had been handed over, the costly equipment is sitting idle.
“Barbuda is developing…and with development, of course, there will be increased waste. So we have to seriously look at a way to clean up the landfill, put the shredder to use because that shredder costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, so we cannot have the equipment just sitting down rotting; we have to put it to use and clean up the landfill,” she argued.
Meanwhile, Senator Nedd said that through the Ministry of Barbuda Affairs she is working on a comprehensive waste management plan for the island, including the acquisition of a recycling plant.
“After the passage of Hurricane Irma, we have engaged technicians, we have sat with them about [developing] a comprehensive plan on how to transform the landfill with adequate drainage for the landfill — a full, complete recycling plant for the landfill with use of the shredder and all,” she said.
The shredder is one component of the EU Housing Support to Barbuda project which aims to repair or rebuild 150 homes for the most vulnerable persons in Barbuda, using the “Build Back Better” (BBB) approach.
The project also includes capacity building, technical assistance and greening through tree planting.
The EU-funded Housing Support to Barbuda project is being led by the government of Antigua and Barbuda and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).