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Close to 300 fined for littering, illegal dumping; City police facing constraints

A pile of garbage at Church and Wellington Streets, Georgetown

A total of 269 persons have so far been fined for littering and illegal dumping of garbage for 2013.
This was revealed by Chief Constable Andrew Foo on Tuesday in an interview with Clean & Green Guyana/ Guyenterprise.

The articles that govern the institution of these fines are the Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:07, section 277 4 C – which states that anybody who throws litter on the Council’s road must be arrested and fined, and the Summaries Jurisdiction Offences Act Chapter 8:02, which speaks to minor offences committed and gives constables the power to arrest anyone who litters or dumps refuse improperly. “

The fine for any magnitude of littering or dumping is GUY$10,000 or an alternative of three months imprisonment, community service or any other measure the presiding magistrate sees fit for the offender.
According to Foo, arrests are made when offenders are caught in the act of littering or dumping by constables. Any citizen who witnesses dumping can also make a report. In such cases, “They are called the eye witnesses and they would be required to issue a statement for the report they make”, Foo said.

He noted that constables would use their judgment whether to caution or fine persons, depending on the size of their litter.

Foo said the issue of enforcement for solid waste management is one in which they have been addressing aggressively; however, the department is currently constrained due to limited human resources.

In terms of authorized strengths, some 316 ranks would be adequate to efficiently carry out the constabulary’s mandate but it is currently working with some 170 ranks to monitor markets and other commercial areas.
The Chief Constable explained that ranks would usually stake out common dumping sites to catch defaulters but noted that this inevitably results in them shifting to other locations to dump.

The concern about lack of mobility for the constabulary was also raised by the Chief Constable at a recent public awareness workshop held by Guyenterprise. He noted that there is no functioning vehicle for the council to carry out its daily duties. “For us to respond to reports that are made, there’s a need for ranks to be mobile, we cannot have ranks out there on the ground and if they are expected to arrest persons, there’s no means of transportation to get to the area where the report was made and then to arrest the person and move them to the station”.

Foo said despite the lack of resources, the council has been active in prosecuting persons and placing them before the courts for littering and dumping.