Representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) met with the Hope Town District Council visiting waste disposal sites on Man-O-War Cay and Elbow Cay hoping to establish a relationship with the local government and assisting them with capital projects.
Chief Councillor Jeremy Sweeting said that IDB indicated that their primary reason to visit Abaco was to visit the waste management transfer stations in Hope Town and Man-O-War Cay. “After thorough research they found that both Cays had the best waste management systems. The IDB remarked that the system was the best in small communities, not only in the Bahamas, but in the Caribbean region,” he said.
The IDB wanted to see firsthand if this system in Hope Town and Man-War could be implemented throughout small communities in the Bahamas.
The IDB applauded local government for taking the lead in waste management solutions in their home communities.
Maria Attademo-Hirt, Representative for IDB, said “The people [here] are entrepreneurs; people help themselves. They are quite a distance from Nassau and so they take their wellbeing in their own hands.” She added that the IDB “would be honoured to partner with them and support them in that effort.”
Additionally, given the Hope Town District Council’s fiscal track record of financial prudence and integrity over the last 10 year span, the IDB informed the council that they have qualified to be considered for a loan or a grant for capital projects in their district. The IDB mentioned that the transaction would have to be facilitated through a NGO (non-government organization) as local government is not permitted to collect money.
Michelle Evans, Multilateral Investment Fund and Private Sector Consultant for IDB, said that the trip was “for us to get a sense of what some of the needs of the community are and to see areas of support that we can actually provide. It turned out to be very, very interesting, informative, exciting.”
She indicated that it is “clear that the Man-O-war Community has been able to work together in such a way that they have been able to, regarding some of their needs, address them by themselves. Despite that it doesn’t mean that they don’t have other areas that need to be addressed.”
Ms. Evans stated that she thinks “we achieved our objective in understanding what some of their problems are, some of the infrastructure needs, some of the other needs that involve ways that they could actually have revenue to be able to continue to support the community themselves so that they themselves can be self-sustaining as opposed to being completely dependent on central government.”
She said they are looking forward to continuing to have discussions with the Council to see how the IDB can assist them.
She added that she really likes the community spirit she feels in Abaco, “everybody knows everybody; everybody works together and if they want to resolve a problem everyone jumps in as much as they can to get it resolved.”
Mr. Sweeting noted that the waste disposal system was introduced in Man-O-War in 2006, and in Hope Town in 2010. Mr. Sweeting worked with the former Minister of Environment, Earl Deveaux, acquiring the rates approved by central government for solid waste disposal.
He added that the contractors in both cays deserve a lot of the credit.
Chief Councillor remarked, “I’m proud that our waste management sites are receiving their due acknowledgment. It took a lot of hard work from both local government, our contractors, and the Ministry of Environment. We have an environmental friendly system. This can be implemented in other communities, but local government has to take the initial lead and develop a plan first.”
The IDB is the primary source of financing for the central government