WASTE CONFLICT: Area MP and brother allegedly involved in govt’s North Eleuthera landfill contract

WASTE CONFLICT: Area MP and brother allegedly involved in govt’s North Eleuthera landfill contract
Undated drone footage purportedly showing waste on the ground at the Eleuthera landfill.

Harbour Island committee unhappy with site’s management

ELEUTHERA, BAHAMAS — Amid concerns that a North Eleuthera landfill has been improperly operated by a waste management company owned by the brother of area MP Howard Rickey Mackey, the MP has sought to defend the operation.

Mackey owns the barge and some of the equipment involved in the government contract.

In a recent interview with Clint Watson, host of ILTV’s Beyond The Headlines, former Harbour Island Commonage Committee Chairman Richard Johnson said the site was designed to have trenches dug and waste dropped within and covered; and after many years there were be mounds that would eventually break down and could be removed.

However, Johnson, who is a former operator of the landfill site, said the current operators simply dump the waste on the ground.

According to Johnson, the price tag of the contract was over $90,000 per month.

“The trucks that come in now would simply dump the waste on the ground,” he said.

“The tractor would come later and push the waste.

“It is now being pushed toward what we call ‘The Sounds’, which is actually a natural habitat where there are mangroves where most of our juvenile fish, lobster, crabs and things of that nature are born and bred and raised.

“Another vexing problem is every evening, every afternoon when the waste management company comes and dumps their waste, someone lights the waste afire.”

Johnson claimed the brother of the South Eleuthera MP is no longer involved and the MP is solely managing the site, contrary to what Mackey himself later told Watson.

“I go on record to say — this is Richard Joseph Johnson speaking — that Mr Charlie Mackey was fired. The member of Parliament is now managing the waste management system himself,” he said.

Johnson, who has proposed to the government that the committee take over the management of the site on commonage land once again, said he has spoken with the MP.

Howard Rickey Mackey.

“He (Mackey) indicated that his people didn’t light it,” he said.

In a separate interview, Rickey Mackey said the landfill was established in the early 1990s and a cell system put in place using 300-foot-long cells that were 50-feet deep with drainage into a leach pond.

He said that system was supposed to last 20 years, but was oversubscribed in fewer than 12 years.

Asked who owns the barge that the waste is transported on, Mackey said the contractor was Briland Waste Management, owned by his brother and another partner, and he owns the barge and some of the equipment that is used as a part of the contract.

When asked about the Harbor Island Commonage Committee’s proposal to ensure waste is properly disposed of, Mackey said the commonage committee gave the government authority to establish a site on the 20 acres of land, a claim the committee has disputed.

According to Mackey, at current, the debris is taken from Harbor Island to the landfill and then mashed or a tractor pushes it.

He said liquid was intended to enter the leach pond area, but the sewage being dumped was an issue that the Department of Environmental Health will have to address.

He said unless the old cells are reinstalled or new plans were undertaken, “that is what is currently happening”.

He said there was a plan around seven years ago to harvest waste by having it transported into New providence, but the plan was scrapped.