Back on July 1, 2006, Barbados Free Press reported that the Sanitation Service Authority and Environment Minister Liz Thompson were making contradictory statements about the number of illegal dumpsites on the island.
In our article How Many Illegal Dumps In Barbados? we pointed out that while Sanitation Service Authority Public Relations Officer Ian Bourne stated there are some 62 illegal dumpsites that have to be cleared weekly by the SSA and another 97 “problem areas”, Environment Minister Liz Thompson said there are almost 400 illegal dumps.
SSA Public Relations Officer Replies To BFP Article
On December 4, 2006, SSA Public Relations Officer Ian Bourne visited our website and left a reply to the How Many Illegal Dumps In Barbados? article. Here’s what Mr. Bourne said…
“If you examine my statement carefully… I said there 62 illegal dumpsites the SSA deals with and 97 problem areas.
The Hon. Min. says there are 300 to 400 sites, I do not know how many her Ministry is handling, but it can be checked.”
… Ian Bourne, Public Relations Officer, Sanitation Service Authority (comment on BFP here)
Ian Bourne – A Dedicated Public Servant At The Sanitation Service Authority
While there still appears to be some question as to how many illegal dumpsites there are on Barbados, Mr. Bourne is interested enough in his work that he stopped by our blog after normal working hours to clarify a point and offer some advice – so, we thought we would have a look at Mr. Bourne on the web and see what we could find out about him.
It turns out that Mr. Bourne runs a very informative blog called Bajan Health Protectors where he has documented some of the fine work he and other SSA employees have done in trying to educate young people about recycling, illegal dumping and issues of waste management in Barbados. Mr. Bourne’s blog is all the more impressive when one considers that it is an “unofficial” effort obviously being maintained because of his personal dedication rather than because he is being paid to do so.
Mr. Bourne puts his heart into his work, and his blog makes me think of all the other dedicated government employees who, like Mr. Bourne, are doing the best they can with less than the proper resources. We all know that for the front line people, working for the government is something like trying to run a marathon with only one shoe.
It seems a shame that the Barbados Sanitation Service Authority does not have something as simple as an official website where citizens could find information about waste management, illegal dumps, recycling, SSA tours for schools and young people and a host of other resources.
(Or maybe the SSA does have a website and I just couldn’t find it through Google or the Government Information Service?)
It is all about funding priorities, and for many years it seems that the government’s priorities have had little to do with looking after the important needs of Bajans. Sure – we’ve had lots of publicity initiatives, parties and government announcements, but when it comes to clean water, proper sewers and effective garbage disposal, the government’s priorities have been elsewhere.
We hope that Mr. Bourne and his fellow SSA employees will eventually be given the tools and funding they need and so rightly deserve.
Stout hearts, all!
Ian Bourne’s Personal Websites
Photos: Ian Bourne & Illegal Barbados Dumpsite photos from Ian Bourne’s blog.