Following his recent call for an investigation into Opposition Leader, Jamale Pringle’s contractual arrangements with the solid waste department, Prime Minister Gaston Browne is now looking towards a wider investigation into the operations at National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
Possible collusion, alleged contract “kickbacks” and even negligence will be at the forefront of the pending investigation.
While Browne commended Health Minister Molwyn Joseph for his works, he pointed out that he was not particularly pleased with solid waste department.
“in that particular division in his ministry [NSWMA], I am not satisfied that we’re getting good value for money.” said Browne.
He continued, “whomever he has to move where there is proven collusion, fire them. Where there is evidence… and I don’t like to fire people. But, when you [steal] government money, that’s a different ballgame.”
Browne went on to suggest staff rotations within the department to increase alertness as staff working in the same position for a long time tend to “not pay attention”.
“I think there has to be some rotation as well, because when you have people in the same position verifying these contracts, and not paying attention, or looking in another direction and allowing these abuses to take place, we have to take action against them,” Browne offered.
The prime minister argues that several invoices have been made out to the department with no change in the description of the work done from one invoice to another or from one month to another.
The department employs around 100 privately-contracted trucks working six days a week and according to the prime minister, “the country isn’t any cleaner than when we had individuals going around cleaning the country.”
“The actual description of the work that was done remains the same, and we know that that amount of work would not have been available… We have strong reason to believe that those invoices were inaccurate, that they were padded, and we’re gonna deal with that issue,” the prime minister said.
With that in mind, Browne has suggested to the health minister to change up the tasks carried out by the department and reduce the working days from six to three.