Patrick Hassell is the new supervisor at Saba’s Waste Management Facility per Tuesday, February 21. He takes over from Arnold Hassell, who has been supervisor for the past 7 years. Arnold will stay on a few more months during the transition before going on a well-deserved pension, several years after his pensionable age.
Patrick (29) started working at the Waste Management Facility 6 years ago. Arnold saw Patrick’s potential and served as his mentor to coach him for his new role as supervisor. “I didn’t think I could be a supervisor. But Arnold encouraged me, told me that I could do it and that I had to keep focused.”
Over the years, Patrick said he watched, observed and listened to Arnold’s explanations. “I observed the work that was being done. I learned how to be self-sufficient, in trying for example to fix machines when they break down. Sometimes we have to call in someone from outside for the repairs, but for the most part, we fix it ourselves.”
Patrick did not finish high school and managed to get this far through hard work, dedication, a supportive family and the coaching from Arnold, he said. “I am very proud to have gotten here.” Waste Management & Recycling Manager Camilo Usuga said that besides all these aspects, Patrick also has a great personality. “He is definitely an asset to the team, and we welcome him as the new supervisor,” he said.
Arnold should have gone on pension a few years ago, but he decided to stay on for a while longer so Patrick could get trained to take over his job. Arnold expressed much appreciation for Patrick and the 12-member team at the facility. “The men mostly work 7 days a week. It is hard work, separating, sorting, packing and storing the different types of waste and recyclables in the containers before we export them to the United States for further processing. We have a very efficient organization and I am proud of them,” he said.
When Arnold came to work at the Waste Management Facility after being supervisor at the Public Works Department, the operations were far from efficient, and almost all waste was burned. The burning generated much smoke and hazardous fumes, which were unhealthy for the residents in nearby St. John’s, but also for the workers at the Waste Management Facility. “When I started here, there was some separation of waste and we burned five times a week. With all the sorting and recycling we do now, we only burn once a week with some wood and medical waste.”
Throughout the years, with hard work and with the financial support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW), many improvements were made at the Waste Management Facility. “Now we have it much more organized. We have more equipment, more space. We got a good thing going here,” said Arnold.
Patrick said that as the new supervisor he wanted to look into ways how to further improve the waste management process. “Make it easier and even more efficient.” He said he would like to set up a shed where members of the community can drop off things that are still in good condition, which other people can then pick up. “That way, things that are still good to use, don’t unnecessarily end up as waste,” he said.
Usuga said that the efficiency with which the Waste Management Facility worked was a “big accomplishment” of Arnold, Patrick and the team. “As for Patrick having become a supervisor, it shows that putting in work ethic and dedication gets you far. There is a lot of young potential out there who could get far with the help of a mentor. I am very grateful that Arnold embraced that role.”
Commissioner responsible for waste management Bruce Zagers said that he can still remember when Arnold was approached to take over the management responsibilities at the landfill. “Since Arnold has been working at the landfill, the changes and improvements he has been able to facilitate are remarkable. Because of his efforts and the motivated team, Saba is now seen as one of the leading examples of waste management in the Caribbean. We are all very appreciative of Arnold’s commitment and passion for improving waste management for Saba,” said Zagers.
“As for Patrick, he has proven to be ready to take over the management responsibilities and he is doing so with full confidence from the Executive Council. Patrick is a prime example for others because of his work ethics and his determination that he has been able to move up the ranks to where he is now managing one of the most essential services on the island. I wish him much success and I look forward to working along with him to further improve our waste processing systems,” said Zagers.