Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados – Professor Machel Names The Liars, Thieves & Incompetents

“From now on the general public will have access to this information, rather than just a select few. It is high time, if not overdue, that this information is available to all the people of Barbados…”… Professor Hans G. Machel talking about the information contained in this article.

Editor’s Note

This is the last article of a three-part series on the Greenland Dump Fiasco by University of Alberta Professor Hans G. Machel.

After Barbados Free Press published part one: Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados the hit-o-meter went crazy and the article ended up at #80 on the Top Posts list. To put this in perspective, on December 21, 2006 the article was the 80th most popular post out of the millions of posts online at 545,489 blogs!

On December 31st, we published part two: Professor Machel Replies To Comments. From the response to the first two articles, it is obvious that Professor Machel’s words struck a chord with the thousands of people who read them. Today, Professor Machel ends his series by pulling no punches: he accuses certain people and organizations by name as being liars, incompetents and the self-interested who forsake their duty to Barbados for personal gain or other unethical reasons.

Barbados Free Press publishes today’s third article in the series exactly as Professor Machel sent it to us, with not one word changed – with the exception of the word “vain” in paragraph 13 which was originally misspelled as “vein”. For readability, we have divided some of the larger sections into paragraphs – specifically inserting the breaks now seen after paragraphs 1, 8, 11, and 17. Similarly, where bold and other text styles appear, this was done by Barbados Free Press – again to enhance readability.

BFP inserted “Liar Liz” Thompson’s photo to provide a visual break from the text and to illustrate the article. The other two photos were supplied by Professor Machel. The title at the top of the page Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados – Professor Machel Names The Liars, Thieves & Incompetents was created by Barbados Free Press. BFP has used the word “thieves” where Professor Machel has used other descriptive terms – because we believe that the people behind Greenland Dump are stealing the future from the people of Barbados (along with whatever private gain they pocket).

And don’t forget folks – it is not illegal for a politician or other person in authority in Barbados to sell their influence and decisions for personal gain. There’s no law against it and Prime Minister Owen Arthur says we don’t need one!

We’re not lawyers here at BFP, but it is obvious to all that by naming names, Professor Machel runs the risk of being sued under the absurd libel laws of Barbados. It seems to us that the articles are an indication of Professor Machel’s respect and love for the people of Barbados and for the island that is our country. He could have kept silent, but for the sake of Barbados chooses not to. For that, Professor Machel has our admiration and respect.

Editing Note 18Jan07 19:17hrs GMT

Looks like we made a cut and paste error, folks. Prof. Machel has alerted us, so we changed the article as follows…

Section entitled “Foreign Expert Syndrome”
fourth paragraph
third sentence
C.O.Williams somehow wound up at the beginning of the sentence, rather than within it. You have:

“….golf course. C.O.Williams The money for this project is footed by and other private investors.”

But this should read:

“….. golf course. The money for this project is footed by C.O.Williams and other private investors.”


Take it away, Professor Machel…

Greenland Fiasco – Third part of Trilogy

This is my third and last article in the Barbados Free Press on the Greenland landfill issue, following the ones from December 20 and 31 2006. I will answer comments by readers again. In doing so, my major objectives are (1) to show the criteria that a sanitary landfill must fulfill, and that Greenland fails most of them; (2) to lay out the reasons for a new landfill site in St. Lucy as well as for incineration; and (3) to expose the misleading tactics that have been used by the Government of Barbados in its efforts to push Greenland and to exclude incineration.

From now on the general public will have access to this information, rather than just a select few. It is high time, if not overdue, that this information is available to all the people of Barbados.

Now the ball is in your court. YOU, Barbadians, have to see this through. YOU have to stop Greenland from becoming a landfill site. I cannot do this for you. I have done whatever I could to: popularize the Greenland fiasco both within and beyond the island’s borders; point out the main geologic, environmental, and economic problems; and make constructive suggestions.


I have been engaged in the Greenland debate for several years. I have done this because I love Barbados and Barbadians, and because I feel a moral obligation. I did not get involved for money, as I am not being paid for this work. Nor do I have any financial interests in the island (such as property), nor do I have any axe to grind. The last point may not sound true when I talk about some of the key players later on, who have maligned and insulted me personally. But this has happened only within the last year or so, long after I started writing articles and giving public presentations about Greenland. Hence, these incidents are not my motivation.

Barbados is plagued by many problems, such as certain forms of crime, often inadequate water supply, wage inequities, out-of-control spiraling property values, the lack of an effective sewer system, serious underfunding of hospitals, dilapidated roads, and whatever else is featured in the media on a daily basis. I have not commented on any of these issues in public. And why should I? It is up to Bajans to solve Bajan problems. Besides, no country is without problems, and overall Barbados is doing remarkably well.

But the Greenland issue is different. This is a problem Bajans appear to be incapable of solving. I, as other foreign experts before me (most notably from the Canadian companies Stanley Associates and Burnside), was called upon to provide an expert opinion. I answered the call because I have expertise that was badly needed, including some that neither of these companies have, and because it became increasingly clear in the late 1990s that Government – on this issue – pushes a hidden agenda rather than serving the people. Another reason I answered the call is that I care deeply for the environment and for people. I just cannot sit idly by and watch how a small group of people does immeasurable damage to Barbados, that is, to the environment, to the people’s welfare, and to the economy by running up huge and ever increasing costs.

Until I started this trilogy on December 20 2006, I have refrained from pointing fingers, hoping that those orchestrating the Greenland fiasco will come to their senses, admit their mistakes, and reverse course. Alas, this has not happened. When work on the so-called retrofit of the site began in mid December 2006, I abandoned being “Mr. Nice Guy” and started naming names. I do not enjoy this part, but Government’s intransigence (or – as Bizzy Williams so aptly put it – “madness”) forces my hand. So far the people in charge of the fiasco are staying their course, come hell or high water. Rest assured that high water will come, much sooner than these people wish. Rest assured also that hell will come, especially for these people, only a little later. Unless they do change course after all.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Comment by ‘Justasking’: Is there an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) done and available on Greenland?

The answer is yes to both questions. There were two EIAs.

The only formal EIA was furnished by Stanley Associates in 1995 as part of consulting work for the Government. After surveying the entire island, Stanley’s EIA team, which was formed in April 1995, furnished their Phase 1 report. This report identified only three sites as a potential site for the new landfill. None of them was Greenland. Government did not like that and forced Stanley to revise its findings to include Greenland. By all appearances, Government had made up its mind about Greenland even before Stanley’s EIA. Stanley’s Phase 2 report then did include Greenland but ranked it dead-last of the remaining options. In total some 17 sites were evaluated. Stanley’s report(s) could be purchased, and several copies are in private hands.

There was an earlier study produced by Stanley, called Technical Addendum 6A. It did raise Greenland as an alternative and favorable site. Hence, in all fairness, we have to concede that before the Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports Government was made to believe that Greenland is a viable option. One reason was that the site is in clay geology, and therefore would not affect underlying groundwater resources. Additionally, there is ample material for sanitary landfill cover, and it was an already disturbed site, i.e., a quarry. Another factor considered favorable is the low population density on the area. However, the engineers who made these assessments ignored several important aspects.

The most glaring oversight was that they did not consider or vastly underestimated the geologic instability of the area. While a clay base is favorable in many other geologic situations, in the Greenland area this decidedly is not the case because here the clay makes for instability rather than stability. But this and other oversights in Technical Addendum 6A were duly corrected by the EIA team in Stanley. Once their Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports were finished in 1995, Government no longer had a technical justification to push Greenland as the best location for a landfill.

The only other EIA on Greenland was done by me at the request of the Scotland District Association, informally and without pay. This report is dated January 18 2006. It was sent to the Barbadian press and the InterAmerican Development Bank, and found its way to Government. You can get it from me by e-mail. One part of my report deals with the criteria that a landfill site must fulfill (more about this below), other parts deal with the major shortcomings of the plans by Burnside for retrofitting the Greenland site, as well as the likely economic penalties when disaster strikes. Burnside once again did not consider the geologic instability of the area. This is the main reason why the retrofit will be in vain. Nature will tear up whatever they install at Greenland within a fairly short time, most probably within less than 20 years.

Funding for the original construction of the Greenland site came from the Inter American Development Bank (IADB). In fact, it was the IADB that required Government to have an EIA done in 1995 in order to secure funding for the project. While that EIA complied with then-current standards, today’s standards for EIAs in virtually all countries and jurisdictions around the world are more stringent. For example, modern EIAs typically include an assessment of cumulative effects, and a project like a sanitary landfill would now require an ecological and human health risk assessment, as well as full and meaningful public consultation (for example in the form of public hearings, but not necessarily limited to this). Cumulative effects are those effects that stem from the project under consideration in combination with other existing, current or anticipated future projects within the same area, as well as accessory components of the project such as transport of the waste.


For example, what are the effects of hundreds of 40-ton garbage trucks barreling up and down the Charles Duncan O’Neil Highway, which services the Greenland site? This highway already is in a state of heavy deterioration, with countless long cracks and waves that grow longer and deeper every year, especially in a 1 km-long stretch from near the bottom of Farley Hill to Nature Walk Tours, where the pavement has already been patched up repeatedly over the least few years (see picture, taken in early January 2007). Once those heavy garbage trucks are coming every day, the pavement in this stretch will soon go to pots, the highway will have to be closed and rebuilt, which will run into the millions of dollars. And what will Government do with the garbage once the highway is closed?

This brings me to the concept of “full-costs accounting”. This is an analysis of not only the project costs, but also of the long-term maintenance costs (which would be stupendous in the case of Greenland), as well as the social costs, which may include, for example, changes in tourist attitudes toward the Scotland District and ensuing lost revenues. There also must be a contingency plan in case something goes wrong.

None of the above has been done for the Greenland project to this day. Yet now Government is seeking funding from the IADB for the retrofit of the site. The IADB must be made aware of the importance of applying contemporary environmental and risk assessment concepts and methodology to the decision on whether to support the currently proposed undertaking. The people of Barbados deserve nothing less.

Who recommended Greenland?

Justasking asked: “Who exactly recommended Greenland”?

My answer is: after Stanley’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports were released in 1995, nobody who counts. That is, nobody of any repute, nobody with the technical know-how entitled to make a professional judgement, and nobody who is impartial to BLP politics.

I know of only one geologist who recommended Greenland, and that is Leslie Barker, former chief geologist for the Barbados government until his retirement. He has technical know-how, but he is and was not impartial. His statements about the Greenland site are tainted by partisan (read: BLP) politics. The opinions of all government-external and in part much higher qualified experts are being ignored by Government.

The “Foreign Expert Syndrome”

Comment by “naive”: “Could Prof Machel be wrong in his condemnation of Greenland as a landfill”? And then “naive” refers to a “geologist until recently employed by government who is convinced that Prof. Machel doesn’t know what he is talking about”.

This government geologist is Leslie Barker. When Barker says what he says about me, you hear a mixture of professional envy and BLP propaganda. I am a university professor with an international reputation, he is not. I have published some 100 scientific papers in a variety of international journals, he has not. I wrote a book about the geology of Barbados that is sold in the island, and which is used in several secondary schools, he has not. (In other words: I treaded on his turf.) I can speak my mind without government interference, he cannot.

This last point is a sign of the “Foreign Expert Syndrome”. Last year both he and Minister Jerome Walcott have displayed a sterling example of this syndrome, which often is part of Bajan politics. Foreign experts are consulted on many things, not just landfills. When a foreign expert happens to come up with something that supports what government wants to do and hear, this expert is praised and paraded around. If, however, a foreign expert comes up with something that contravenes government’s plans, this expert is maligned and ridiculed. The latter has happened to me. Minister Walcott is on record at delivering a lengthy rant against me in the House of Assembly in February 2006, broadcast over national radio no less, telling Bajans in no unmistaken terms that I do not know what I am talking about. In fact, he used much more insulting language. His rant was rather embarrassing, not for me, but for him.

Contrast this with the conduct of private investors and contractors. For example, The Nation News reported on June 02 2006 about the water reservoir being built at Farmers for the Apes Hill, St., James, golf course. The money for this project is footed by C.O. Williams and other private investors. The project was held up after a few weeks of work because an unnamed geologist from a US-based company changed the first set of plans, even though it had received permission from Town and Country Planning. This geologist (rightly) said that the reservoir would leak, if the approved plan were followed. So he pushed the project further up the road, and with it the costs by a very considerable amount. We hear of no denials of the geologic problems by C.O. Williams and his financial backers. They know how to protect their investment, and how to avoid multimillion dollar laws suits. In the case of Greenland, however, Government is behind the project, and Government ignores the advice of numerous scientists and engineers over more than a decade. One reason is that Government is not accountable. Another is that those in charge must have another, hidden agenda. (More about that later).

machel-stlucy-landfill-barbados.jpg click for large

Where in Barbados should a new landfill be located?

Comment by “God Bless David”: Where should the new landfill be located in St. Lucy?

The new site should fulfill as many of the relevant criteria as possible. These criteria can be formulated in different ways. For the sake of this discussion, I am listing 13 criteria that are grouped into 7 categories. Accordingly, any sanitary landfill site should

1. be geologically and/or hydrogeologically sound (these two aspects are interrelated), which means

1a – the geologic substrate should be stable (= no active faults, no plasticity)
1b – the geologic substrate should be homogeneous and have low hydraulic conductivity (= low permeability)
1c – the cells should be located well above the permanent ground water table

2. be located in a setting that is not susceptible to frequent (annual) excessive rainfall and/or flash-flooding

3. be located in a setting that is not susceptible to episodic (2 – 5 per 100 years) potentially catastrophic natural forces, such as

3a hurricanes,
3b tsunamis,
3c volcanic eruptions,
3d earthquakes, or
3e landslides;

4. have adequate infrastructure (roads, power supply, etc.)

5. be located in an area of relatively sparse population

6. not be located in areas of special protection, such as natural parks and cultural heritage sites

7. be sociopolitically acceptable.

A site fulfilling all criteria would be “ideal”. This, of course, is exceedingly rare. But even if some of these criteria are not met, or only partially, a site may well be “suitable”. For example, if the groundwater table is higher than the base of the landfill, and the flux of groundwater is relatively low, adequate drainage can be installed and maintained at a reasonable cost, (note: these are two different aspects), rendering the site “suitable”. In general, adequate technical measures can be undertaken to control many of these problems. This, however, is not possible at Greenland over any extended period of time, certainly not at any reasonable expense. This is because most of the natural perils that Greenland is facing cannot be influenced by human intervention, or only in the short term, or only at a stupendous economic penalty.

Failing just one of the above criteria can be enough to render a site “unsuitable”. An example would be that a site is crossed by a major active fault line, or that it is located next to an active volcano.

Generally, I deem a site that fails more than 2 of the above categories as unsuitable. Greenland fails in 5 of the 7 categories above, that is, parts or all of 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7.

Most Bajans already know this in one form or another. These are the same reasons that led to the overwhelming public opposition to a landfill at Greenland (failing criteria 7), which Government chooses to ignore.

The garbage at Greenland will not stay put. Solid waste will periodically get flushed out and wind up in the sea, just as large masses of mud wind up as huge plumes in the sea off Long Pond and Green Pond every year during flash floods. Of course, garbage at Greenland would not get flushed out annually, but certainly during the excessive rainfalls that are recorded to occur about every 15 years (there were six such events in the last century). You may as well dump all that garbage into the sea right away. And, if the wind and currents are ‘right’, at least some of the trash will wash up on the west and even the south coasts. In addition, toxic leachate will leak out more or less permanently because the liners will not hold, contaminating the groundwater and surface run-off, and thereby all agricultural land that is in the flow path. Then there are the huge costs for episodic cleanups and reconstruction, let alone law suits that probably would follow.

Applying the above criteria to the whole island of Barbados, a fairly large area in St.Lucy appears as the only viable option for a new landfill (see map: the red boxes outline the area. Click On Map for Full Size). Specifically, the area has the following characteristics:

1a – it is geologically stable
1c – almost all of the area in the large box is well above the permanent ground water table, while a freshwater lens is present in the lower parts of the area in the smaller box
2 – average annual rainfall in the area is the lowest in Barbados, together with the southernmost part of the island
3 – of all possible natural disasters, only hurricanes could affect this area [this is unavoidable]
4 – the area is serviced by a good road system, i.e., Hwy 2A and its northern extensions beyond the St. Lucy Parish Church
5 – the area is sparsely populated
6 – the area is outside of the National Park
7 – public acceptance can be achieved

As for criteria 7, the “not-in-my-backyard” argument will surely be raised by some St. Lucy residents. This is entirely understandable. But I would argue that they can be convinced, if a proper campaign is run to demonstrate that the area(s) outlined here is (are) the only viable option for the new landfill in Barbados. All other areas have too much rain, too high a groundwater table, too many residents, are geologically unstable, or are in the National Park, or any combination thereof. Furthermore, the residents in St Lucy must understand that they cannot close themselves off the garbage problem of the island. Somebody has to bite the bullet. As Bajans, the residents of St. Lucy have social responsibility to accept the new island landfill.

Another important aspect that should quench any opposition to a site in St. Lucy is that the new landfill would not be another “Mount Stinkeroo”, if properly managed. If the incinerator is built that the island so badly needs, the new landfill would be next to odorless. The garbage delivered would be but a fraction in volume of the total garbage produced (the bulk is burnt up), and whatever is left is charred and melted remains that are almost inert.

In order to recommend a specific location within the red-boxed areas shown, one would have to do an on-the-ground evaluation of the various options. This has not been done but can be done with relative ease. My first preference would be the larger of the two red boxed areas, because there is essentially no permanent groundwater, while the smaller boxed area that reaches the west coast has a permanent groundwater lens.

Within the larger boxed area, my first preference would be to investigate the two locations shown in orange colors. Geologists call them “erosional windows”, which are holes in the top layer of coral rock. At the bottoms of these holes the underlying older rocks are exposed, which are similar to the clays in the Scotland District. Imagine these two erosional windows like irregularly shaped swimming pools that have an impermeable base but highly permeable side walls with lots of holes. It is relatively easy to seal these holes with technology that has been developed by petroleum reservoir engineers and civil engineers over the last 40 years or so. Any claim that the coral rock cannot be sealed, which has been made by certain Government people, is utter nonsense. A variety of materials (including Portland cement, slurry walls, geomembranes, and waxes) can be used effectively to provide an impermeable barrier around the margins of a potential landfill, be it a natural erosional window or a quarry. Then a liner can be placed, and the incinerated remains of garbage be placed into the depression.

At present, the only caveat to this scenario is that the erosional windows must be properly surveyed first. Perhaps they hold some surprises, such as a shallow natural oil seep or an underlying fault line, which may render them less than suitable. If so, one would have to assess whether the problem can be fixed, or a quarry nearby could be excavated.

The smaller red boxed area is less suitable because of the groundwater. But relatively shallow excavations could be kept above the groundwater table, while sealing of the surrounding coral rock would be done all the same. All other criteria are still favorable. Thus, one alternative offers itself immediately: the large open quarry next to the Arawak cement plant.

Lastly in this context, land ownership has to be addressed. I do not know what is public and what is privately owned land. But there is a legal procedure to make this work. Government can acquire land and relocate property owners, if private land is needed for public use. Whatever private land may be needed, I would argue that the owners should be handsomely compensated. After all, they would provide a service to all Barbadians.


Comment by “God Bless David”: Where should a large-scale incineration plant be located?

The incineration plant should be located next to the Arawak Cement factory for several reasons. One reason is that transportation distance of the remaining charred garbage to the landfill would be minimized. Other reasons are listed in the next answer.

Comment by “Keith R”: “Do you have any confidence in Bajan officials to keep close watch of the environmental performance of a larger incinerator and hold the operator accountable”?

My answer is: put the operation of the incinerator into the right hands.

My first choice is Bizzy Williams. I once participated in a meeting where he explained his research and economic outlook on incineration. He struck me as man of sharp intellect, very high integrity, and with a caring attitude toward people and the environment. Give him the job, and Bajans will be well served.

Williams is an engineer by training and has researched the subject better than anyone else in the island. He offered Government to build an incinerator in partnership with one of the largest companies in the world that builds and operates incinerators, some of which Williams visited at his own company’s expense. He only asked Government to pass anti-dumping legislation with sharp teeth and heavy fines for illegal dumping to guarantee that all the garbage would be delivered to the plant. The plant would then feed its output – electricity – into the power grid and be paid for the power at the same price that the Barbados Light & Power company sells electricity, less a fee of 15% that would go to the BL&P for transmitting the power and collecting the money. Some of this electricity would then be used to desalinate water that would be sold to the Barbados Water Authority. This revenue from the sale of electricity and water would be used to help pay for the incinerator. Williams also wanted a guarantee that he could use the disused quarry at the cement plant as landfill for the residue from the incinerator.

Williams’ plans were summarily turned down by Government. This appears incomprehensible from any rational point of view.

Why has Government insisted on Greenland?

Comment by “bystander”: “Why has Government INSISTED on going ahead” with this? And, “Is there some factor we have not taken into consideration?”

Of course there is. As Douglas Leopold Phillips so aptly put it in the Weekend Nation of Jan 05 2007: “It is clear that the economic self-interest of those who occupy power is influencing their political decisions”. You have to go no further than the issue that won the 2006 “Piggies at the Trough” award.

I have no first hand knowledge of the economic interests involved specifically in the Greenland issue, but I heard many stories. Some of these appear entirely plausible, simply because there just is no technical rationale to justify a landfill at Greenland. There is talk of certain politicians receiving healthy ‘commissions’, of luxury real estate developments planned for St. Lucy, of Light and Power not wanting another supplier of electricity. If somebody takes the time to dig, and then summons the courage to speak out, we would surely know the factors that “we have not taken into consideration”, as well as the people who stand to profit or already have profited.

How to stop the Greenland landfill development

Comments by “Agent Orange”, “…..we must stop them now”, what are the “legal options”?

There are three ways to stop the Greenland landfill from becoming operational. Each of these options could suffice to topple the Greenland landfill project. In concert they almost certainly would.

1. Court Action: Richard Goddard, on behalf of the Scotland District Association, took the Barbados Government to Court over Greenland in 1995. The case was dismissed on a technicality only. It probably could be revived via an appeal, although it takes a hefty sum of money to do so. Check the Court of Appeal regarding Greenland in the Case Law section of the Town and Country Planning site, as “John” suggested, or contact Goddard directly. The gist of this court case was that putting a landfill into the National Park is illegal, just as Leonard St. Hill has pointed out repeatedly. If an appeal is not possible on legal grounds, or if it is too expensive, a new court case could be started.

2. Starve the project of funding: It is my understanding that the Barbados Government is so highly in debt that it cannot finance the Greenland retrofit (just as it could not finance the first excavations some 10 years ago). Government has applied to the Inter American Development Bank for funding. If the ‘right’ people at the IADB get to know what game Government is playing, and how the money is wasted, the bank most probably would withhold any further funding. Also, I suspect that the IADB can be convinced that a new formal EIA of the Greenland site must be furnished. So, write to the IADB. Phone them. Lobby them. Do whatever it takes to get their ear.

3. Get rid of the politicians and bureaucrats who orchestrate and have orchestrated the Greenland fiasco.

First and foremost: Liz Thompson. As I have pointed out in my last article in BFP on December 31 2006, this person should not be in government. Not only is she a notorious liar, she ignored or trampled each and every environmental concern relating to the Greenland issue. She has been a chief driving force that made the Greenland landfill issue the fiasco it is today.


By her own admission, Liz Thompson has lied to general public for several years as then-Minister of Health, when she was responsible for implementation of the Greenland landfill development. Her conduct is immoral and unethical. Also, I am pretty certain that her conduct constitutes a violation of her ministerial oath. In most countries, this alone would be grounds enough for dismissal. Yet, in Barbados she is a senior government minister. Not only that, she now is minster for – of all things – the environment. Given her track record on Greenland, having Liz Thompson run the Department for Environment is like the proverbial fox guarding the chicken coop.

Liz Thompson is also coward, and totally untrustworthy. Not once, as far as I know, has she apologized for her continued lying about Greenland, which is the least she owes to Barbadians. Even when finally fessing up, she lied again (Daily Nation article dated December 17 2000), when claiming that “…all local and international studies confirmed that Greenland was the best location for the landfill”. Just when exactly are we to know when she speaks the truth? I, for one, do not believe a word she says.

It is incomprehensible to me how Bajans tolerate a person such as Liz Thompson in Government, let alone as a minister.

Ricardo Marshall, as I have pointed out before, is ignorant and incompetent in the position he presently holds. He has proven this numerous times, both in the printed media and in his appearances at my public presentation and on Brass Tacks in February 2006. As an example, I refer to my lengthy article “Nothing good about Greenland”, which appeared in the Sunday Sun on February 27 2005. In this article I show, point by point, that Marshall does not understand the issue(s) at hand. Marshall needs to be replaced.

Then there is the current Minister of Health Jerome Walcott. He has come out dead-set against incineration, which makes no sense. But I have the impression that he is a smart man. He is clearly following and pushing Government’s course that began long before he was in Government. (This also tells you that there are forces in Government pushing Greenland that I am not naming here, and that date back to at least 1995). I would hope that, one day, Mr. Walcott can liberate himself from the corrupted thinking that permeates the BLP’s party elite. I am pretty sure that he realizes the folly of the Greenland endeavor, and that incineration along with a smaller landfill outside of the Scotland District National Park is the way to go. If he manages to rise above partisan politics, Bajans just might get a garbage incinerator after all. Or when a new person takes over the Health portfolio.

In conclusion, I wish to repeat the final paragraph of my article “Nothing good about Greenland” from February 27 2005:

“I respectfully suggest that the Government of Barbados immediately abandons its plans to use Greenland as a waste disposal site. The government followed ill advice to build this site. This was a great mistake. But it would be a colossal mistake to go any further. The government should cut its losses and move on. Admitting that one has made a mistake is painful, but it can be a virtue. I would view it a sign of strength and wisdom, if the government abandons Greenland as a waste disposal site and moves to sensible alternatives, such as another site that actually is suitable (such sites do exist elsewhere in the island, although there is no “perfect” site), in tandem with incineration of a part of the garbage. The people of Barbados would be forever grateful, rather than be burdened with an ongoing disaster and costs that will mount with time.”

I still stand by these words. But since the time I wrote them, my patience has run out with those whose actions are driven by motives other than serving the people of Barbados.

Professor Hans G. Machel
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
University of Alberta, Canada


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Environment, Island Life, Offshore Investments, Politics & Corruption

41 responses to “Greenland Fiasco Dooms Barbados – Professor Machel Names The Liars, Thieves & Incompetents

  1. Jupiter

    Thank you Professor Machal for your detailed information that we the people of Barbados must now digest.

    I must confess BFP that I am a bit disappointed since your preamble led me to believe that names of corrupt persons,and shadows would have been given.

    With the exception of liz,I saw no smoking gun.

    Most of what was said we heard at some point before,however I commend BFP for printing the entire piece.

    This is why I will commend Harold Hoyte as a kind person,but I have lost my respect for him as a consumate professional – the ‘doyen’ of journalism as he is now called – he is certainly no Clennell Wickham.

    There is nothing that Professor Machal said above that could not have been carried in the Nation newspapers.

    Again the nation seems only interested in selling Ads and pushing Gov’t releases.

  2. reality check

    What a wonderfully written common sense article. Thank-you Dr Machel.

    As you know by now common sense and the long term interests of Barbadians have little to do with politics in Barbados.

    The inmates are running the asylum and what a sorry lot they all are, motivated by greed and arrogance and fueled by vengeance, ignorance and incredible stupidity.

    Barbadians need to write and phone the IADB so they don’t fund this continued madness!!!

    The President is Luis MorenoTelephone (202) 623-3100 but maybe someone could prepare an e mail petition to him that could be electronically added to by incensed Barbadians and other concerned citizens the world over?

  3. RRRicky

    Jupiter, I think you will find that if Professor Machel ever sets foot on Barbados soil again he will be slapped with a lawsuit because with our libel laws “the truth” is not a defense.

    I just had another thought. Is the prof trying to get sued becuase the truth would come out at any trial?

  4. reality check

    the truth may come out at trial but no media outlet would dare publish it in Barbados

    “truth” means BLP sanctioned spin in Barbados

    the fix is always in the back pocket and someones bank account

    Barbados is essentially a country of favours not basic rights and checks and balances

  5. WHy are we allowing the BLP to jeopardize our children’s future like this? This is monumental madness as George Payne, the now silent politician once said. Perhaps he has gotten so rich that he does not care what happens in St. Andrew or Barbados. Liz, like MIa owns properties close to Mount Stinkeroo and have been promised some by Sandy Lane, I am told, hence they need to get Greenland going fast. How sickening!

  6. Pat

    Seems like a backward, lesser third world, tinpot dictatorial government management to me. I am from the Scotland District. Me, ah no going back tuh live. They destroying the most beautiful part of the country. I though the Scotland District was a national park. But a garbage dump? Just to please the rich foreigners who want to build at Cove Bay?

  7. akabozik

    Off topic.

    The Bajan Dream Project has moved their website to WordPress like BFP.

    Bfp should change the links in their stories about Bajan Dream Project and on the index at the right side.

  8. akabozik

    sorry, forgot the new website address for Bajan Dream

  9. Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
    They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

    Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi – 1970

    Wake up Barbados.

  10. Tudor

    Excellent article, frightening in fact, I believe that Bajans have to stand up and be counted, From what I read here the only ones who can stop this madness is, US, the people who elect Govts!

    We must start a groundswell movement, similar to the Friends of Graeme Hall, and collect signatures against Greenland which we then submit to the IABD & Govt to stop this madness. Say whatever you wish about Mr. Arthur but he will sit up and listen to 5000+ signatures, We can no longer have this attitude of we know it wrong and do nothing about it. Remember the Sparrow calypso, “we know we like so” We have the power, I for one am tired of being part of a system where people are elected to serve us and we end up serving them. I doubt that I will vote in Barbados again unless i se changes. I am so disenchanted with politics in my country, where are the committed politicians? gone to flowers everyone.

  11. yatinkiteasy

    When the “remedial’ work is done for several millions more at Greenland by COW, will he and his Construction Company be held jointly accountable for the damage to the environment that will result from using this geographicaly unsuitable location as a garbage dump?

    I like “inmates running the asylum”….did we not hear Dame Bill Miller say that the QEH is so clean, “you could eat off the floor”…she also found that a six hour wait in A&E was great.What kind of standards are we aiming for? I have a friend who suffered a heart attack and remained in AE for a week because there was no rooom in ICU nor was a private room available. Does she know that patients in Private wards at QEH(if they are available) must bring their own toilet paper? …Or that no hot water is available from the shower…nurses kindly heat water at their station and bring a pot in for a patient to have a warm bath.(like they used to do in the early 1900`s.)

    They are ALL a bunch of liars!
    I agree with Tudor…how do we start to get the signatures?Should Richard Goddard lead it off?

  12. Jerome Hinds

    That is the point, yatinkiteasy, these hoodlums we have in this BLP administration need to be ‘ retired’ How can they in the face of all that has transpired at the QEH recently – and still make the irrational statements that Dame Billie made in the House of Aseembly.

    We need to reclaim what is left of our country from the hands of Owen Arthur and his hoodlums !!!

  13. call to action

    perhaps BFP readers can suggest ways we can take back our counrty from the incompetents and “tiefs” starting today

  14. akabozik

    yatinkiteasy said…

    “When the “remedial’ work is done for several millions more at Greenland by COW, will he and his Construction Company be held jointly accountable for the damage to the environment that will result from using this geographicaly unsuitable location as a garbage dump?”

    HOLY SMOKES! What a good point. You can bet your house, car and women that COW isn’t stupid. My bet is that before taking the contract, COW had the Government of Barbados indemnify the company for any failures or lawsuits.

    That means that once again the people of Barbados are on the hook for any failures because the Government of Barbados signed away everything.

    I’d bet everything I have on that one.

    Dr. Duguid – please tell us if the govt indemnified COW Williams & Co. for any problems at Greenland.

  15. bystander

    Thank you, Professor Machel for spelling it out again for us so that there can be no misunderstanding.

    Government made a terrible decision when they first chose Greenland, and despite all the evidence against them, they obstinately refuse to admit it or reconsider their decision. And waste further millions sticking to their guns.

    Re Your Suggestons:
    1. As Richard Goddard’s legal case against putting a dump in a National Park was disallowed on a technicality (which I have read, but cannot make head or tail of) I agree a new case should be opened. I would be glad to contribute to the legal costs involved and I am sure other public spirited citizens would do the same.

    2, I agree we should all put pressure on IADB not to fund the doomed Greenland project, as you suggest. Do they have an email address which we can inundate with objections? Telephone calls are too often a run-around on hold. Is there one person or committee charged with evaluating such projects?

    3. Getting rid of the incompetent politicians and civil servants you have identitied is not as easy as it should be, even in a democracy. Boneheaded stupidity is so widespread, apparent dishonesty so ignored, that unless one is caught red-handed in flagrante delictu, it will be shrugged off as a peccadillo.

    The only demonstration of public opinion to which the Arthur Regime pays any attention is when Sen. Trotman brings out the unions in protest. I doubt the Greenland Landfill Scandal is close enough to his heart for him to take such action, even though his rank-and-file supporters, like every citizen, will be affected by Government’s intransigence for years to come.

    “Tudor ” is correct in suggesting a groundswell of opposition like Friends of Graeme Hall National Park. ENEMIES OF GREENLAND DUMP?

  16. reality check

    Washington e mail address

    maybe all concerned citizens can send a copy of this article to the President and also make their own comments with respect to the continued insanity at Greenland

  17. Jane

    It is clear that Barbados has some laws in place which are enforceable but lacks integrity legislation, freedom of information and the laws which should be controlling the people who being protected by the libel and defamation laws. This tells us everything we need to know.

    “I cut my teeth on both being sued and trying to avoid being sued under our country’s outdated libel and later almost as outdated defamation laws” Patrick Hoyos made this comment under the welcome back Broad Street Journal topic and it has stuck in my mind and RRRicky says here in this topic “I think you will find that if Professor Machel ever sets foot on Barbados soil again he will be slapped with a lawsuit because with our libel laws “the truth” is not a defense”

    Lord help us!

  18. Walker

    The Professor has used strong words and under our laws, I think that he can be sued without setting foot on Barbados. His comments are in writing for anyone anywhere in the world to read. Will be interesting to see how Liz responds to these “deflamatory comments” made by a causcian.

  19. John

    The point about the indemnifiation by the GOB of COW is an interesting one.

    Since the thing went to tender, should this not have been in the tender to which all tenderers responded?

    If it wasn’t, and COW has it, isn’t this some sort of malfeasance on the part of the Government?

    There may well be some rather irate tenderers if it were ever proved that GOB had indemnified COW.

    I doubt if any such indemnification were given.

    In any case, how would it look if the GOB spent $25Million more Taxpayer money on a project which it admitted would probably fail?

    Nah, ….. they could not be so crass, $3 BILLION or no $3 BILLION.

  20. I feel shame to think I live in a society where a good man like Prof Machel can come out with a public-spirited statement on the Greenland Fiasco, and have to fear that he may be sued for doing so.

    True he calls Liz
    1. a notorious liar
    2. immoral and unethical
    3. a coward, and totally untrustworthy
    4. unfit to be in Government, let alone a Senior Minister
    But is this defamatory, or merely the way many of our politicians are commonly viewed?

    He stopped short of calling her a crook for wilfully misusing public funds, after all.

    Retired geologist, Leslie Barker he dismisses as an envious incompetent. Ricardo Marshall an ignorant incompetent. The Hon Min of Health, competent but misguided. All honest criticism, the type of stuff we are used to hearing daily on call-ins.

    I would like to think his straight-from-the-shoulder style will wake us up to the enormity of the Greenland situation. God bless the professor for his bravery. As he says, the rest is up to us.

  21. Rumplestilskin

    Respect to the Professor for supplying support from a scientifically qualified individual to an argument that any half-wit layman can understand i.e . that Greenland should never have been and is indeed doomed to failure.

    So why can the Government not see?

    I would hate to think that such as the goodly Ministers cannot see what any half-wit should.

    So what IS the reason?

    I would not deign to think that it has anything to do with refusing to put an incinerator and dump in St.Lucy (or other suitable locale), because these may be earmarked for ‘luxury development’.

    Nah. Definitely NOT from our goodly Ministers. Thye would not have anything to gain from such an act, would they.

    The MUST be some other reason.

  22. Juking Board

    Hackers like they at it again. Just saw Justasking handle appear in my name box. This new round of spending by GOB on Greenland is gross misuse of public funds. I like the idea of inceneration. What so wrong going in that direction ?

    COW Williams and his ilk get away with a lot of nonsense and everyone knows exactly why. If his company draws the big bucks working on this further fritterring away of black taxpayers money then when the time comes his company must be called to account too.

  23. Sandra Collins

    I’m from Ireland and love Barbados, been a visitor many times, but I do not understand what is NOT happening.

    Dr. Machel outlines a major national crises at Greenland that is underway right now, but there does not appear to be a local group organised to lead the good fight against it the way the Friends of Graeme Hall are apparently doing in Christ Church.

    I see here in BFP lots of knowledgeable comments about Greenland, plenty of speculation and judgements, but no real action. Is everyone waiting for poor Mr. Goddard to do something? Is this not a real crises? What more do you need to actually do something?

  24. Sandra C.- A good question, why we blog away, but take no action. Perhaps the first step would be to draft a petition letter to which BFP participants and the general public would add their names when given the opportunity. Richard Goddard certainly deserves to chair an action committee if he is prepared to do so after the thankless efforts he has expended in the past. We owe him more than lip service support now.

  25. John


    I emailed an account of the Boscobel Landslip of 1901 which took place just around the corner from Greenland. It is an eyewitness account of the rector of St. Philip the Less which appeared in the Advocate of 4th October, 1901.

    I am putting together some photos and with Google Earth hope to show the signs of the past catastrophe.

    Will then work my way around to Greenland.

    While no one can predict what will happen, certainly the evidence suggests it is foolhardy to spend more than $50 Million there.

    The signs of the past are all there in the land.

    Just need to look.

    .. but for me one of the most worrying things, quite apart from the $50 million, is that there appears to have been no attempt to quantify what water might exist in the Greenland catchment before it is written off.

  26. Cliverton Not Logged In

    Hello John

    We received your article and many thanks. Robert said he will put it up tonight.

    Will you have satellite photos by then or should we wait until tomorrow?


    Shona please call robert about this so he knows.

  27. Hans G. Machel

    Sandra Collins writes: “….no real action” ….. “What more do you need to actually do something?”

    How right she is.

    Talking and blogging is not going to stop this fiasco. If Greenland does receive garbage starting this fall (2007), as Government has indicated, a part of the blame will have to go to Barbadians for not having taking ACTION.

  28. Hans G. Machel

    My last Comment: sorry for the typo. Make that:

    ….”not having taken ACTION”.

  29. Tabitha Weekes

    Hi my name is Tabitha and i was looking for The name of the water authority in Barbados and i was disappointed when i didnt found it why because that’s what i seach for anyway you should improve on this page more and i’m not talking about a little more much more thank you

  30. basil small

    In my view the goverment is wasting millions of dollars in the construction of the greenland land fill this is a waste but is only continuing because of the presence of the Sandy Layne Golf Club and the propose villas to be built on the eastern side of hiway 2a

  31. everything the professor has said is correct, pockets will always be lined in these sort of things, the GOB does not and will not ever give a damn about the barbadian people. when this project fails (and it will)
    owen will raise taxes to cover it, no money out of his own pocket so he don’t have to worry, our tax dollars will continue to pay for all these failed projects . Why on earth would the GOB not want an incinerator , burning the garbage should be more enviromentally sound, plus it take up much less surface area, tell owen put the dump inside illaro court, that is where you put garbage.

  32. Jukecheckedeyskirt

    Jingle bells, jingel bells owing belly swell, big big very big but he still going to hell.. Ohhhh jingle bells, jingle bells oh what lies he tell, he fooling the people, selling their heritage but soon… time will tell.

  33. Pingback: Barbados Greenland Dump Project Killed By Government - Thank You Richard Goddard « Barbados Free Press

  34. Pingback: Why Should Anyone Trust Ricardo Marshall Of The Solid Waste Project Unit? « Barbados Free Press

  35. Anthony Durbin

    Way back in 1996 my engineering colleagues and the writer met Arthur Archer ( God rest his soul )We offered to build a complete resource recovery solid waste processing plant with CHP(combined heat and power) that would have minimised the island’s entire waste to little more than 8% of its volume – and provided 4 megawatts of constant,baseload electric power for running the plant and provide all of the power needed to run other government services. The engineers concerned are Babcock Wilcox Volund of Denmark, builders of biomass, and incinerator plants and ART (Advance Recycling Technologies ) of Faithlegg S.Ireland – technical design engineers. The total cost of the turnkey plant would have then been no more than has been spent on the Greenland landfill. We are fully prepared to again offer this facility to the Barbados Government – backed by our own finance package, against certain guarantees. The plant can be sited almost anywhere and be fully Kyoto Protocol emission compliant – being that our plants convert all combustible and biomass waste to carbon neutral fuel. I hope this message reached the right people.
    Thank you. AD

  36. Anthony Durbin

    Further to my previous comment I’d like to point out that inert, clean residues from the Volund / ART plant would be no more than an approximate 8% by weight of the original waste arisings. This material can be used for commercial purposes. All r-useables are recovered. Glass is reduced to powder – Plastics are processed for local reuse (we have engineering for this) – Metals are recovered and compacted for export. Bio-waste is processed into a carbon neutral fuel for on-site power generation. A turnkey plant to process upward of 150,000 tons of waste could be commissioned,up and running within 30 months of placement of an order. // AD

  37. permres

    I recently referred to a paid advertisement by Richard Goddard in the Advocate of 9th April on the other blog on this subject. BFP say they are going to try to get it posted.

    This offer by Anthony Durbin is fascinating, a lot of money yes, in the meantime Mangrove is full. No flyovers, spend on this instead. Temporary measure, I’ve said this before, ship our garbage out of the island to anyone who will take it, again expensive, but emergency money for emergencies, as with a hurricane hit.

    Greenland should become a beautiful fresh water lake. ecologically managed with lots of fish.

  38. Pingback: Will Canadian Professor Hans G Machel Be Arrested Upon His Return To Barbados? « Barbados Free Press

  39. Joe Brathwaite

    dear sir,
    I read the report of Professor H Machel and I beleive that he is working for the Williams companies.
    The Williams are pushing incineration, which I totaly agree with. They are also trying to sell desalination and electricity, which would be excessive profit for the companies, but expensive for Barbados.
    I would like to deal with desalination, we in Barbados have a problem with leaking water mains which have to be replaced. If the water mains are replaced we will solve our water problems and then there will be no need for desalinated water.
    Electricity, Barbados is too small to have more than one supplier of electricity, leave that to the BLP.
    The incinerator is an excellent idea, because the plastic, metales and any other recylable materials can be recyled and sold.
    The incinerator could also produce steam and fly ash which could be used for other products .
    The incinerator would have to be located in St lucy close to the cement plant and the new BLP power plant.

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