Nationwide News has obtained documents which show the Fisheries Management and Development Fund of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries had been complaining to Minister Derrick Kellier about sanitation management on the Pedro Cays.

The Fund was paying the National Solid Waste Management Authority millions of dollars to clean Pedro Cays.

But in a letter to Minister Kellier, the Fund said it had ‘lost confidence in the capacity of NSWMA’ to do the job.

In the letter, the Chairman of the Fisheries Management and Development Fund, Richard Burgher, told the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Derrick Kellier bluntly: his Board had ‘thrown in the towel’ on the NSWMA because it had lost confidence in the authority’s ability to clean Pedro Cays.

The NSWMA and the Fund saw things differently.

The NSWMA told an inter-ministerial conference held at the Agriculture Ministry on January 15 this year it had collected garbage at the Pedro Cays up to December last year — and the creditors associated with the removal were paid.

According to the letter, that claim was made through the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Local Government Ministry, Dionne Jennings and Executive Director of the NSWMA, Jennifer Edwards.

But Mr Burgher wrote that the Fund had a totally different report to what was given by the NSWMA.

Mr Burgher charged that no garbage was collected from the Pedro Cays in September, October, November and December of last year.

Mr Burgher was particularly upset because he said in November last year, the Fund contributed 10-million dollars — which represented approximately seven months forward payment to the NSWMA  — towards the sanitation management of the Pedro Cays.

The Fisheries Management and Development Fund was worried that the sanitation problem at the Cays would cause it to its lose export licensing certificate from the European Union, the EU.

The Fund so feared the consequences that at a meeting of its Board on January 22 this year, it came up with certain recommendations which would severely alter its relationship with the NSWMA.

It recommended to Minister Kellier that it would stop making payments directly to either the Ministry of Local Government or the NSWMA, with immediate effect.
It wanted the NSWMA to assign a team that would contract with third-party entities to manage sanitation at the Cays and it would pay the contractors directly.

It also wanted the NSWMA to refund all unspent monies from the 10-million it had allocated to it.

The letter from the Fund to Minister Kellier was also copied to the State Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Luther Buchanan and Permanent Secretary, Donovan Stanberry.

In closing the letter, the Fisheries Management and Development Fund asked for the intervention of Minister Kellier and his colleagues at the Local Government Ministry to approve its recommended arrangements.

It also asked for another inter-ministerial meeting.