Basseterre, St. Kitts (December 21, 2015) — Technical operations at the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) St. Kitts have recently received a well-deserved shot in the arm. Joining the corporation’s senior staff since mid-October is Environmental Engineer Ms Għanja O’Flaherty.
According to the SWMC’s General Manager Mr Alphonso Bridgewater, the new staffer who is reporting directly to him will play a pivotal role in streamlining and reinvigorating technical operations in her role as a Planning and Operations Engineer, which is a new position.
He indicated that he was “looking forward to the energy, enthusiasm, enrichment and enterprise that the combined assets of Ms O’Flaherty’s education, positivity, independent thought, character, skills and apparent appetite for a challenge will bring to the table.”
Among Ms O’Flaherty’s key responsibilities and duties are, promoting engineering and management oversight to ensure compliance with the Solid Waste Management Corporation Act, No.11 of 2009 and the corporation’s policies and procedures; and managing the development, revision and implementation of policies and procedures for solid waste field operations as well as the maintaining and improving of best practises throughout the corporation.
She will also be responsible for reviewing of contracts and interfacing with subcontractors concerning the same; and providing engineering support for landfill site operations (including waste characterisation, operations manual initiatives etc.) and overall process optimisation.
Further Mr Bridgewater noted that the new employee will be “serving as a member of the corporation’s Rapid Response Team (RRT),” and will be involved in “preparation and conducting of in-house cost estimates, plans and feasibility studies and other technical reports for the corporation’s activities, including the investigation of renewable energy options.”
Ms Għanja O’Flaherty was born and raised in St. Kitts. She attended the George Moody Stuart School, Basseterre High School, and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College before proceeding on to Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where she did a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering.
“I am excited to be here,” said Ms O’Flaherty. “There is lots to do, it is almost daunting but at the same time I am really happy to be here from the start of the initiatives we plan to undertake and seeing them through. I think it is going to be an amazing experience to see them come out from idea to action.”
Her Bachelor of Engineering dealt with sustainable resource development which entails looking at life cycles from cradle to grave, the grave being solid waste and waste in general. While the world of waste is varied and wide, her environmental engineering course tilted towards solid waste.
Having been raised in St. Kitts and only went to Canada for her further studies, it had always been her ambition to return and give back to her country in whatever way she could.
“When I first got home I sought out a number of companies and government departments that would be able to make use of the expertise that I had garnered through my education,” said Ms O’Flaherty.
“Mr Bridgewater was one of the most excited which was very nice to see and heartening and I guess we had quite a number of discussions on whether I could fit in, how I could fit in, and what I would be doing for the corporation.”
According to Ms O’Flaherty, St. Kitts is a beautiful island and a lot of work is being done to ensure that it remains an environmentally clean and friendly island, but adds that there is still room for improvement and that she will share with those on the ground what knowledge she has gained from her environmental engineering studies.
“A great deal of it will also be my job moving forward,” she said. “I will be looking at best practices and whether there needs to be a technology change or mind-frame change – basically what needs to be done to get to where we should be.”