(CMR) Cayman's Premier, Alden McLaughlin, has threatened to publicly expose sanitation workers who are exploiting the system in order to obtain overtime pay.
In a Cayman Marl Road exclusive, we have obtained group chat conversations from a Prospect Community WhatsApp group. In that, various persons can be seen complaining about the poor state of garbage collection in the area and the ensuring rodent issues.
Councillor Austin Harris indicated that he has spoken to the Minister on Monday about the issue and apologized. The concerns are nothing new as DEH has struggled with garbage collection for almost two years. In a candid moment, The Honourable Premier McLaughlin states that:
“Truth is some more people need to get fired. The delays in pick ups are being caused by “sickouts” in order to get overtime for the same work by having to work overtime and weekends”.
Presumably, the reference to “more firings” relates to the former head of the department Roydell Carter who was placed on leave earlier this year and finally “paid off” several weeks ago. The government never confirmed why he was placed on leave and only admitted he was penalty gone after CMR revealed that in another story.
Finally admitting the cause of the issue is driven by DEH personnel trying to take advantage of the situation he claims he has told the Acting Governor and head of the civil service, Franz Manderson to take “drastic action” to address these personal issues.
He then threatens to take the matter public.
However, MLA for George Town Central Kenneth Bryan states he believes this is a cop-out. He thinks that the action of the deliberate issue is by the government; who are attempting to justify the privatization of the garbage collection process.
To support his claim he states that the government has employed several persons on a temporary contract but is now seeking to terminate those next month. He finds it odd that this would be done in light of the fact that the problems exist:
“If this was truly an overtime issue why not place people in permanent positions. If they cannot place people on a permanent contract and are actually now letting temporary workers go the only logical explanation appears to be a move to justify the privatization argument. This approach continues to undermine the departments ability to effectively collect garbage.”
CMR understands there was a DEH management meeting Monday evening when the decision as made to end temporary contracts at the end of the month.
The Cayman Islands Department of Environment Health (DEH) continues to struggle with garbage collection despite a change of management. Just two weeks ago DEH issued an apology statement indicating Grand Cayman could expect further garbage delays.
On Monday several persons reached out to CMR via Facebook sharing these photos and their concerns.
The delays were as a result of absenteeism in a significant number of places, including the center of George Town, Windsor Park, Banana Walk, most of Crewe Road, Prospect Point Road, Mangrove Avenue, Mahogany Way, Patrick Island, Prospect Drive, IMP to Morningside Drive, as well as areas from the intersection of Shamrock Road and Prospect Point Road to East End, including homes off the East-West Arterial and Hirst Road.
It was also revealed recently in three separate audits that DEH suffered a number of abuses including the mismanagement of overtime and other staffing issues leading to an 800% budget overrun at the dump.
Despite all of this the Minister continues to claims that the matter is being handled and that controls have already been put in place to address the issues. Health Minister Dwayne “John-John,” Seymour said:
“For the past several months the DEH management team has focused on strict accountability and performance management to deal with the issues of poor attendance and unsatisfactory performance that helped to create the overtime overspend,” the ministry stated. “We believe the success of these efforts has shown in improvements to the regularity of the waste collection service across the Cayman Islands.”