The newly-elected Councillors of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, on Friday appeared set to be saddled with some garbage and a GYD$160 million debt to two waste collection companies.
Acting Town Clerk, Sharon Harry-Munroe told reporters the City’s treasury is broke and could not pay Cevon’s Waste Management Inc. and Puran Brothers Disposal Inc. She said now that Cevon’s and Purans have decided to park their vehicles until they are paid, City Hall would hire several small garbage collection companies to help the Municipality’s Solid Waste Department remove domestic and commercial waste.
The companies said they are owed from June to November, 2018 for waste collection and disposal services to residential and commercial Georgetown.
“Our decision was made only after futile attempts to engage the municipality on the issue of settling these outstanding amounts. In the process we found City Hall to be decidedly lacking in a sense of urgency. It is as if the administration of City Hall has concluded that it is entirely reasonable to expect us to continue to provide service in the face of its astounding delinquency,” Cevon’s and Puran’s said in a joint statement.
The companies warned that hiring replacement providers was risky because they are not properly equipped and do not have the expertise “to provide an environmentally sound and safe service.”
“In the past City Hall’s resort to less than professional replacement service providers have led to unwholesome consequences, not least, movement through the streets of the capital of vehicles unsuited to the task making deposits of garbage and putrid liquid on streets in the capital to say nothing large numbers of disgruntled citizens,” the companies said.
Cevon’s and Puran’s called on the City administration to negotiate a binding agreement on paying the debts of June and July by November 30, 2018 and August and September by December 31 along with regular payments being made in keeping with the existing contract.
The companies called on central government to help bail out City Hall by paying up the debts or risk having the citizens experience a garbage-laden Christmas. “All things considered, we consider it prudent to call on Central Government once again to actively support the recommended process in order to bring closure to this matter in the shortest possible time and to ensure that the upcoming holiday period is not blighted by unwelcome and unwholesome challenges associated by a sub-standard garbage disposal service,” the companies said.
Charging that the City administration’s limitations are both reckless and dangerous, the waste collection and disposal companies recommended that government gets directly involved in solid waste management.
“Accordingly, and given the critical importance of affording our capital a garbage disposal service that provides assurances of environmental safety we recommend a measure of stringent government oversight, going forward. We need no further evidence that the efficient management of this service is beyond the capability of City Hall at this time,” they said.
The 30 elected councillors are not expected to take up office before January, 2019.