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House: overseas workers for Tynes Bay

Tynes Bay (File photograph)

The island’s incinerator will have to recruit four engineers from overseas to fill gaps in the workforce, the Minister of Public Works told MPs today.

And Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch warned that the Tynes Bay plant would either need expanded or major work done on the existing waste to power plant within the next three years to remain reliable.

Colonel Burch also raised the possibility of Tynes Bay becoming a quango — a quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation — outside of direct government control.

He said: “We are commissioning a study to do an analysis of timelines, options and of course cost to explore which is more beneficial in the long term.

“The costs are significant for either option along with the likely requirement for extensive space for baled garbage for an extended period during construction.”

Colonel Burch told the House of Assembly that Tynes Bay was down four operators due to staff leaving — often for better money at Belco and elsewhere.

But he said it was planned to launch a recruitment drive for trainees next year.

He said: “We lose staff to Belco more and more as our compensation mechanisms fail to keep up with the competition.

“Gaining more flexibility by becoming a quango may be a solution as current government compensation grading does not take into account risk management, which is a high contributing factor to persons not wanting to stay and progress through the ranks.”

He added: “All options are on the table to secure and retain qualified Bermudian talent and we shall aggressively explore these options without apology.”

Colonel Burch said that the weekday drop-off times at Tynes Bay would be extended from the start of next month.

He explained the hours for the bulky and special waste drop-off section were cut as a cost-saving measure in 2013.

But he said that “through collaborative efforts with the operating contractor and ministry staff” a deal was worked out to change the 9am to 6pm hours to 7am to 6pm to let people drop off items on their way to work.

Colonel Burch added that “through the application of monies already owed to government” the extended hours would not involve extra expenditure.