Over a month without garbage pickup in hot Barbados

Retaliation by Civil Servants

by J. Payne

True story! As I say I sign my name because I don’t care who get vex. In my area people put out their garbage for sanitation to come and take. It seemed simple enough but Sanitation is unreliable so sometimes you might go 2 weeks without a pickup.

Let’s just say they usually pass-by on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Now that seems simple enough? You’d put out the waste on Monday and Friday night right? Well if you do guess what? All of Barbados’ stray dogs will get into it! And the first thing they do is burst it open on the ground. I have the unfortunate circumstance that all the neighbourhood dogs like to grab everyone’s garbage and drag it to my land to rummage though. So I have to go out twice a week with pitchfork to clean up. If I don’t the plastic bags begin to catch rain water and you start to see those mosquito larvae in the folds.

So anyway I tried to nip the problem in the bud I called Animal control because the dogs drag the waste over, and once they’re done the cats pick though it too. Right off the bat– Animal control says they don’t deal with all of Barbados’ stray cats… So I was on my own there. So I said fair enough well can you come collect the dogs??? They told me they can set out traps but I would have to pay I think it was BDS$30 a day for traps. (I guess they figure because I don’t have a Bajan accent that I’m a good target to try and exploit money of of.)

I asked well what happens if I don’t catch anything? I was told that I’d have to pay upon them picking up any dog. So if the dogs didn’t come by in a week I’d be out over US$105.00!!! With nothing to show for it. So I told them forget it. After-all the dogs don’t live at me, they don’t belong to me, and why should I have to bare the cost of ridding the entire neighbourhood of dogs?

So I called sanitation and asked if they could please try to do garbage collection more regularly. I was told (and I can understand) the trucks which cover all 166 Sq. Mi. of Barbados every week (multiple times) are prone to break downs. So they try to pickup the regularly scheduled route when they’re back on the road and then they will come to pickup the areas missed thereafter (to remain on schedule). I said fair enough but then I started getting problems with sanitation. Because I complained they refused to collect my garbage. Lets just say I went over a month without garbage collection. So if you complain in Barbados expect retaliation by the civil servants.

They claimed my “trash barrel was too full”

I told them of course it was full. It was December and some of the yard waste in there was from since Hurriance Tomas!! The people told me I lie and I showed them my tree. I said I have ONE tree like that on the entire property and Hurricane Tomas raked every fruit off the tree. When they finally emptied the trash barrel the smell was putrid. Everything had literally rotten. It was in the barrel for a month baking in the noon day sun… Lets just say I was at my wit’s end. I was ready to go down to the U.N. building at ask that Barbados be placed on reprimand for not living up to their obligations of providing me fair access to sanitation.

Since I got nowhere with Sanitation and Animal control I next called the Ministry of health after-all because the dogs were creating an environment where the bags can collect and breed mosquitoes. They told me they don’t deal with dogs! I said I know that but, can they work something out with Animal Control that I shouldn’t have to pay Animal Control all that money? They put me to some voicemail and I eventually got a call back saying they can’t do anything.

So my message from all that is just because you see trash all over the place it may not be a human hand that put it there… At the end of the day Barbados is a difficult place to get even the most easiest of things done. If I pay off some people they’d do everything I wanted but because I wasn’t willing to spread the wealth ‘to-bad for me!’

photo courtesy of eHow


Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Environment

24 responses to “Over a month without garbage pickup in hot Barbados

  1. here me now

    solution is simple, mix some powdered cement in some food and put out for the stray animals.

    no more strays!!!!

  2. cg

    Remember what happened ti Micheal Vick.

  3. J. Payne

    It wasn’t a fun situation. On one occasion one of these plastic bags had-in soiled diapers and what appeared to be a used condom. You think I want to be using a pitch fork scooping up that on my vacation? I don’t want to be anywhere near that sort of stuff!

    There’s much more to this storey.
    Due to length of my post I didn’t include the fact the sanitation workers actually threw my entire garbage bin in the truck due to my subsequent complaint to the sanitation department… Yes, I did then have to buy a new garbage can. But I could only find a much larger one. When they came by with the garbage truck they said it was too full and wouldn’t touch it.

    And fact #2 I actually went down Black Rock to the Animal Control office in person to speak to someone directly. I can’t even recall the person’s name but again no assistance there. I left in disgust and although the land has been in my family for generations its more appealing to sell and move elsewhere in the region. I don’t like rats and I don’t want dengue fever from mosquitoes, so I don’t think owning property in Barbados will do for me if that’s what I have to look forward to every vacation.

  4. to here me now i think the remakes regarding feeding cement to stray dogs are sick,
    do you not have a recyling plant? and rather than put out black bags what about wheelie bins? the bit about the rotten fruit you could compost it !
    instead of dumping everything try recyling we have to, I was’nt happy at first but now my waste is down by at least a half and i now have lovely compost for my garden

  5. Although I am no longer at SSA, I can tell you bins should weigh no more than 35 pounds, every house must have a bin by Law – see Health Services act; they should have a lid and the receptacle have holes at the bottom to allow for drainage so as not to add to bin’s weight via liquid like sluice or rainwater.

    There are a number of ways to keep away stray animals from your waste (it’s yours under two circumstances – until it’s collected or if it’s illegally dumped) – where I live, before I had a bin I would hoist bags on my 5 foot high wall and prevent assaults. Others spray Baygon, Kerosene, Bleach and/or Vinegar on their bags and suddenly only SSA would touch the bags once set for disposal.

    The matter of yard waste is usually a separate collection to coincide with Bulky Waste removals or when Landscapers haul the stuff off to Edgecumbe or Parson’s Quarry which are the accepted sites for Tree Trimmings/C&D: Construction and Demolition waste.

    Bulky Waste removals were a regular occurrence when I handled their PR, you can verify this by searching BFP for Bulky Waste, but I do not know if “Alff” Padmore has EVER initiated a Bulky Waste programme since joining the SSA?

  6. J. Payne

    I considered a number of things. Composting seemed difficult for me as aeration is a must for proper decomposition. Around the property is swept up daily and the number of trees on my property made this difficult to undertake composting on a daily basis. The thought of adding more edible items to the ground near where those dogs were using to rummage through other persons garbage also seemed undesirable to.
    It was clear the dogs preferred this plot of land because I found some dead half-eaten chickens with all the feathers on.
    It seemed to me it was only a matter of time before mice or rats would come, so I put yard waste into one receptical and any strewn garbage I’d take the time to rake up and I’d put that into two large kitchen trash-bags and leave out for collection…
    I also got suggestions from some neighbours to burn the yard waste but you have to consider a lot of things before burning anything. People in Barbados are getting asthma more commonly, and you shouldn’t burn when people are home to in hail all that. I asked the fire service what are the rules regarding burning waste and they told me the general things to consider. However I reconsidered given I didn’t poses a long enough hose as a precaution.

  7. J. Payne

    Once tropical storm Tomas occurred, I gave-away all the downed fruits. The rest which was unsuitable I put (half) into the receptacle. The other half I left out in a heap in the front yard. The trucks came by thereafter and didn’t empty my bin. The second week the same so I called about it… The next week they threw the whole trash bin in the truck and left. You think them easy?
    So I got back another one and the first thing I did was put the other half of the waste from Tomas in there and it sat there until I was getting ready to leave Barbados in December. With the bin getting more and more full every-week it was to the brim by December. Around mid-November I had enough and gave up on raking up the garbage which the dogs were dragging over to my property. I had nowhere to put it any longer anyway. I ran out of trash bags. Sanitation said it was too full and they’re not lifting it and there the stand off began. In mid-December I knew I was not staying in Barbados any longer, so I went outside and offered to help them lift it. They told me ‘no and to move out the way’ and the three of them on the truck got out and unloaded the bin in the truck. I assume the truck didn’t have the catcher on it because as the sanitation truck pulled away it left a trail of putrid water all down the street and one neighbour even came out of her house (obviously over powered by the smell and threw water in the road over the trail to try and wash it away.)
    The same sanitation workers in December told me if I allow the bin to get that full again they would take the whole thing (again) and dump it in the truck. Saying that’s what they did last time. I asked him if he doesn’t know those bins cost money? And at that point we had a very long verbal argument out in the street where all the neighbours heard, came out and told me I was right. They tried to say that garbage wasn’t there for that long but all the neighbours already knew the situation…

    I’m not alone on this. I saw someone else posted the same concern to the Nation too.

    Point I. If I had paid the Animal control, I’m willing to bet those traps would have been point out. This would have cut down on the waste I was putting out from the outset. This was what put my on a collision course with sanitation from the outset.
    Point II.: If I told those workers that I would pay them something extra to pick up the stuff in the bin, you’d see how fast they’d get it into the truck…

    What I was most dismayed about is the lack of interest by the Ministry of Health which claims to have a vested interest in the fight against Mosquitoes. It is clear to me that ministry is only talking-talking-talking for the sake of talking.

    And similarly sanitation workers were also taken to task for not taking up garbage in elsewhere:



  8. here me now

    @sandra, not as sick as ppl letting dogs roam and bringing waste on MY property to make ME sick. animal rights ppl could talk all dem want after going the correct route through SSA and RSPCA and getting no satisfaction i did using cement. de next drink of water dem get would be dem last.

  9. Those trucks are a long-standing issue too, I have been told, this is what I heard – how the SSA has a Technician to repair the vehicles but he seems incapable of doing so – a Technician Consultant who charged no money was brought in and started repairing vehicles immediately the pimp um, the original snitch Technician complained to specific Board members how the Consultant was showing him up not authorised by SSA to carry out those duties and consequently, the Consultant who was operating pro bono was told pack up tools and go home… Sanitation needs to charge a tipping fee, which can help offset basic expenses like Maintenance.

  10. SSA has about 12 vehicle to handle 30 constituencies and this is not even considering new districts popping up more and more without Town & Country notifying SSA, far less the residents themselves. That is why I suggest a Tipping fee and this in turn subsidised with a Subscription service for the Public, maybe then Bajans will respect SSA’s work some more and if Environmental Officers would Fine/Ticket those who do not dispose of properly?

    But back at J. Payne there are lorry-loaders who can be less than sterling, then there are other others like John Broomes who go beyond the call of duty and stopped a fire taking out a new home in Ruby, St Philip. You should write the Superintendent for the district – there is North, South, City East & City West. Where I live is City West… 430-5000 The current Environment Minister is on Facebook and has 2 accounts for having so many friends, he’s listed as both Denis Kellman & St Elmo Kellman, perhaps you can befriend him and get his ear?

    As for those who recommend cement, when one of those creatures turns out to be a neighbour’s pet and they die I hope you ya got Kevlar and a good lawyer, ‘cos they will be aiming at YOU once they suspect…

  11. Tipping

    J. Payne normally you would tip if you recieve good customer service, but if I was you, I would speak to the guys that run your route and give them a gift wether it be a bag of fruit from your trees some gloves to help them with there work etc and every month give them a tip, give it a try. If your still unhappy call a skip company. I pay my garbage men a small fee to collect from house and business and they give me fantastic service, after all it is a disgusting job they deserve some extra $ in there pocket!

  12. FearPlay

    Hold on here “Tipping”! Are you suggesting that citizens start offering a “bribe” to have their household waste collected by Sanitation Service employees? Are the police next then QEH workers, school teachers, POLITICIANS (oops! Sorry, that’s happening already I am led to believe). This sound like how it is done in Mexico and some African countries.
    I am not opposed to offering a gift in appreciation for a job well done but it institutionalize tipping every month sounds like a dangerous slop to start sliding on.

  13. Co-Sign with “FearPlay”… @Tipping – SSA fired many a Driver & Lorryloader for that nonsense, do the job anyway and rewards will come! I am not saying J. Payne is correct nor the Crew, both contributed to an ugly situation – there are correct procedures to do on either side!

  14. rasta man

    Really sad situation when you have to “BRIBE” persons to do the work they are paid to do. Wonder if the situation also exists at the Town &Country Planning Dept?

  15. When I refer to “Tipping” I mean the Landfill, not what one does with a gratuity when you get good service… Tipping as in a truck relieving its container of waste into a cell of the Landfill before resuming on a further journey of collections.

  16. Bad Bob

    I’ve had good luck with my trash pickup because I throw a few pieces of obsolete currency from countries that no longer exist or have currency that is so inflated as to be worthless [Zimbabwe for example] into the mix. When the genius handling the bag notices what appears to be CASH..he immediatly throws that bag into his special location on the lorry so he can dive through it later. I’m sure he’s going to get a thrill when he visits his bank and tries to convert to Bajan $$$.

  17. HM

    @ Bad Bob

    Nice one 🙂

  18. J. Payne

    To be clear. I was making the paying them comment in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and I think I need to clarify that before it gets more misconstrued. I did **not** pay the lorry persons any money whatsoever. I was just saying I’m willing to bet that if I gave them something they would have more than picked up the refuse in the bin. Despite it being “too full”.

    In terms of complaining, I did! I was connected to personnel over at The Pine… The person who took the call ask me about some of my extended family whom they went school with. Thereafter the same person mentioned they would speak to the lorry men about why they were not collecting the refuse. Days later the lorry men threw my entire bin in the truck. And thereafter they still refused to pick up anything. I purchased a new bin then the storm came past and they still refused to clear the bin. I intended to leave everything where it was but people started putting their food on top the bin and creating a mess. So before I left I went out to ask them if they want help lifting the bin since it was “too full” and “too heavy” for them to lift.

  19. eddie

    what you are saying is the truth. garbage is collected once a week in my area. and the weeks that a bank holiday falls they miss that week. so once a month on average we have to go 2 weks before a pickup.

    i also have a problem with dogs and cats raiding my garbage can and am also thinking of poisining them , they are all strays. remember it is cheaper to piosin them than pay the fee mentioned above.

  20. J. Payne

    @eddie. About my information being correct. I’m curious if you called and confirm those rates with animal control?
    I think it’s in Barbados’ interest to get the dog situation (and cat for that matter) under control. In my neighbourhood you can hear all the dogs moving around in packs at night. The large dog fights all over the district were a tip off…
    Furthermore, it isn’t long before they will keep breeding. Worst of all they might start biting people (esp. young children).
    The dogs by me were killing people’s chickens. I was finding the dead chickens on my land. All the feathers were still on the bird but it was clearly killed by a larger animal. So it is clear those dogs already have a taste for blood. The worst thing to do is let their numbers continue to grow.


    Dear J.Payne,
    Where on earth do you live??? RatHole, Sin Michael?
    I’m so sorry.


    Start by poisoning left right and center!

    The only difference between PET and PEST is one letter – S

    Mix poison with left-over gravy, and set it out at night.
    Works wonders for strays!

    Well-fed and cared-for dogs and cats will not take that stuff.
    Only unfed strays will.
    Who eat it ..DEAD. Tough luck, buddy!
    Cement, POLYFILLA, whatever works!
    Identify your problem, identify a solution and get with the program,
    IF you’re serious about a solution!
    But, like many people, it’s easier to moan and complain and wait for someone else(Government?) to come to your rescue.
    Do what needs to be done!

  22. J. Payne

    No, I’m not from St. Michael…

  23. 57

    And for that we are both thankful *wink*

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