Turks and Caicos Islands: PNP jumps on dump

Governor Ric Todd recently paid a visit to both the Grand Turk and Provo dump sites and apparently the Progressive National Party (PNP) candidates got wind of a photo opportunity and the chance to do damage control of the party’s failure to deal with the enormous environmental mess.

Royal Robinson, who was assigned the responsibility for the cleanup of the sites nine years ago, was on hand to admit that what the interim government has accomplished in its three years of rule, his party failed to do in six years under his management.

“It was lack of funding,” said Robinson, the former deputy premier.

However, the PNP had borrowed three multimillion dollar loans in the first two years of its administration and it has now become obvious that the waste problem was a low priority.

The interim government has, after extensive negotiation, hired a private contractor to deal with the toxic mess at a cost of $1.3 million per year for the next five years.

“This was like the scene from a horror movie,” said Todd, in referring to what he saw when he arrived in mid 2011.

Currently, the rubbish is being spread out and compacted by bulldozers and is then buried under several layers of earth. Previously, the open dump site was home to numerous illegal aliens and scavengers as well as vermin and stray dogs seeking a meal from the garbage in the refuse. Constant fires sent plumes of toxic smoke drifting over the islands.

During the PNP administration, there were discussions of barging the refuse but a home for the waste could not be located, so the management of the sites was abandoned when Robinson was assigned as liaison between the contractor and government for the building of the hospitals.

Also seen at the dump site with Todd and Robinson was PNP leader Rufus Ewing. He said he was troubled by the delay in using a membrane to isolate the garbage from the ground and ground water. As director of medical services from 2005 through 2012, Ewing has never before spoken out on the health hazards created by the lack of dump management.

In fact, early in Robinson’s tenure, the site on Provo was moved and a massive amount of maggots and house flies were released, resulting in a plague on the island. Winds carried the pests to the family islands, where they currently continue to propagate and multiply.