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Altercation Cancels Blacktip Island’s Dump-Find Repurposing Contest

dump repurposing contest

A cluster of condemned scuba cylinders was at the heart of a dump-wide fight Wednesday at Blacktip Island’s annual Dump-Off Repurposing Challenge at the small Caribbean island’s landfill. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)

A melee among contestants at Blacktip Island’s 17th annual Dump-Off Repurposing Challenge Wednesday sent four people to jail, nine to the medical clinic and caused event organizers to cancel the contest.

“Everything was fine—we let contestants scope out the dump the day before, and off they went when we dropped the flag at dawn,” DORC chairperson Jay Valve said. “Then Linford Blenny and Edwin Chub, of all people, got in a scuffle over some condemned scuba cylinders and things spiraled from there.

“Next thing we knew, all the other contestants had joined in, whacking each other with bike wheels, bits of rotted roof tin, and anything else they could get their hands on,” Valve said. “It took us, and Rafe Marquette, a quarter of an hour to get everybody disarmed and disengaged. Dump-Offers are always keyed up and competitive, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Bystanders were shocked by the unexpected violence.

“We bring the kiddos every year so they can watch the DORCs in action,” Chrissy Graysby said. “It inspires them to be engineers. And garbage collectors. But now, they’re hiding under their beds and won’t stop crying. It’s frightening how a community event like this could erupt into a riot.

“Usually it’s quite Zen-like, with folks working all day to make something new and useful out of stuff someone else threw away,” Graysby said. “Last year, Clete Horne won with his lightsaber. Well sort of a lightsaber. It looked the part, but all it did was glow. And zap mosquitos. The little ones were so impressed. Now this.”

Island authorities arrested the riot’s instigators.

“Linford and Edwin were the first two I handcuffed,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “And Dermott Bottoms and James Conlee weren’t far behind. Other folks were just defending themselves, but those four lit the fuse by initiating multiple assaults.”

Blenny and Chub claimed innocence.

“I seen that scuba tank first and had my hand on it,” Blenny said. “Eyeballed it yesterday, then made a beeline to it when they dropped that flag. Next thing I know, little Edwin Chub’s walloping me with a set of handlebars and yelling I was taking what was his. Well, I walloped back, but good, with a busted rake. He had it coming, cheating like that.”

Chub denied the allegations.

“Linford was clearly in the wrong. I called dibs on the entire stack of cylinders as soon as the flag fell,” he said. “That counts. Yes, I pummeled him with the handlebars. And he’ll get an encore pummeling if he tries claim-jumping again.”

Event organizers are already studying safety measures for next year’s contest.

“Gonna come up with a hard-and-fast list of rules covering dibs, firsties and what have you for claiming items,” Valve said. “We want to get back to the days when folks’d calmly make a nice cooler out of an old fridge, or a fire pit from a washer drum. This is why we can’t repurpose nice stuff in the dump.”

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Conspiracy Theories Scuttle Blacktip Island Recycling Program

recycling program

A plan to ship recyclable items from the Blacktip Island dump to mainland processing centers met unexpected opposition from island residents this week. (photo courtesy of Catalina Luxfer)

A proposed island-wide recycling program stalled this week due to vocal opposition from island residents convinced the program was a plot to destroy the island’s culture and heritage.

“Blacktip’s a tiny island drowning in garbage, and this plan addressed that,” environmentalist Catalina Luxfer said. “The dump’s the highest point on the island now, and the beaches are clogged with plastic. The clock’s ticking.

“We worked out a deal with local shipping companies to haul recyclables off island to mainland facilities,” Luxfer said. “It’s the first step in making Blacktip completely green and sustainable. Then came these protests and, frankly, I’m still trying to make sense of what they’re protesting.”

Opponents claim program organizers are hiding darker motives.

“Cat’s people are Big Island profiteers who want is to kill our Blacktip traditions,” Ginger Bass said. “Browsing through the dump for that perfect item is a great Saturday outing for the whole family. It’s our way of life. They want to ship our culture, our heritage off-island, like they did on Tiperon years ago.

“We’ll have to buy new items, from them, instead of repurposing what we find at the dump,” Bass said. “This is just a sneaky way to line their pockets by stealing from ours and calling it a sustainable something or other.”

Others saw a more sinister plot.

“Catalina and them want to increase pollution worldwide,” Antonio Fletcher said. “They’re just using the ‘green’ cover so people here’ll go along with it. Recycling centers burn more fossil fuel. So does a tugboat to haul stuff away. Everybody knows that.

“The recycling industry hurts the environment, long term, you know,” Fletcher said. “They’re secretly part of the global anti-environmentalist plot. And what happens to the dump workers they put out of work?”

Luxfer denied those claims.

“There’s no conspiracy. No secret plots with the global recycling Illuminati,” she said. “This is an Occam’s Razor moment. The answer with the fewest assumptions is true: we just want to help the island and everyone on it.

“On a speck of land this small, it’s crazy not to recycle as much as possible,” Luxfer said. “The Blacktip can only hold so much. Throwing everything in the dump will bite us in the butt. Soon. Also, ‘Blacktip Island culture’ is an oxymoron.”

The island’s business leaders were dubious.

“They’re creating a solution where there’s no problem,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Cat’s just grandstanding. She can take that green, global hippie crap back to the mainland where she got it. Blacktip’s not that kind of island. And never will be. Unless I get a slice of the profits.”

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