Two years’ worth of waste, or about 30,000 cubic yards, was collected in the territory from September to November, Health and Social Development Minister Ronnie Skelton reported during a House of Assembly sitting last Thursday.

The minister gave updates about waste management — including the number of derelict cars collected, potential recycling plans and the status of debris sites — along with information on health care, social services and housing assistance.

Mr. Skelton also confirmed that negotiations are being finalised with Kausina VI, an international company that reportedly has a presence in the territory, to export recyclables and dispose of other waste on the island by “composting, landfilling and incinerating.”

Waste island-wide

Mr. Skelton specified that 367 notices have been placed on derelict or abandoned cars, and 310 vehicles have been collected.

To aid the Department of Waste Management in collecting both derelict cars and other bulky waste, the UK Department for International Development supplied a car crusher, trucks and wreckers.

The minister added that Dr. Tim Walsh, a waste management advisor from the UN Development Programme, has been giving technical support.

In regards to Kausina Energy & Environment (though Mr. Skelton referred to the company as Kausina VI), details about how the agreement was arranged, if the contract was tendered and how and where the company will export waste have yet to be publicised.

Greg Massicote, manager of the Department of Waste Management, told the Beacon last week that Kausina had been selected to help export debris from the territory, but he could not be reached for comment after Mr. Skelton’s statements.

Mr. Skelton did, however, say that the arrangement with Kausina will result in “little to no net cost” for the government, and that its team is made up of 12 industry expert analysts, four operational managers and one project manager.

A team of experts from Kausina have been assessing debris management sites like the ones at Coxheath to “determine the most effective and environmentally-friendly disposal methods,” the minister reported.

“Once the debris disposal plan is agreed to by the parties, work is expected to commence immediately,” he said.

Health clinics

Since four community health clinics in Long Look, Sea Cows Bay, Cane Garden Bay and Cappoons Bay were closed for repairs, primary health care services are being delivered through mobile services and home visits to residents who normally went to those clinics, Mr. Skelton said.

In Sea Cows Bay, immunisation and other services are being provided at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Hall, and in Cappoons Bay Brenda Smith’s residence is being used.

Mr. Skelton said repairs to the clinic on Jost Van Dyke have been funded by Kenny Chesney’s Love for the Love City Foundation and are expect to be completed by the end of December.

The Pan American Health Organisation has pledged $1 million to the territory’s recovery, the minister also reported, and has already donated medical supplies, vector control equipment and vehicles for the Environmental Health Division, along with conducting $500,000 worth of repairs at the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly and the Virgin Gorda Elderly Home.

Housing assistance

Several organisations, including the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the United Nations Children’s Fund, Virgin Islands Search and Rescue and other local non-profit organisations, have pledged to help restore the BVI Autism Centre and the Rainbow Children’s Home.

Meanwhile, 366 applications for housing assistance were submitted to the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Mr. Skelton said, and 134 have been verified and approved for building materials.

A Housing Recovery Policy and Plan has been prepared, and the minister said there are efforts to secure more permanent housing and rapid repairs through grants, soft loans and technical assistance.

“I would like the public to know that their cries have not fallen on deaf ears and we empathise with the many households that remain displaced, particularly during the holiday season,” Mr. Skelton said.