Last Updated on Saturday, 5 August 2017, 19:32 by Denis Chabrol
The two garbage collection companies on Saturday announced that they stop collecting garbage from Sunday because City Hall has failed to pay more than GYD$300 million in debt owed for more than two years now.
Cevons Waste Management and Puran Brothers said they have decided to park their trucks and keep their staff indoors from August 6, 2017 “in protest over the absence of progress in our efforts to secure payment, of amounts totaling in excess of three hundred million dollars owing to us by the Georgetown City Council.”
This is the second suspension of operations in less than one month, a move the companies said was prompted by the failure of City Hall’s administration to meet with their representatives contrary to assurances given by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan.
“Additionally, City Hall continues to commit itself to an unreasonable time frame for the full and final settlement of these debts. Engagements between City Hall and ourselves as have taken place have been characterized by insensitivity, disrespect for the two companies and a shocking level of brazenness. As has already been mentioned City Hall also appears to have no difficulty in giving commitments to make payments then cynically evading those commitments when the time comes to honor them,” they said.
Cevons and Purans, in a joint statement, said they have since communicated their decision to President David Granger.
Following is the full text of the statement issued by the waste disposal companies.
Citizens of Georgetown and its environs would have learnt through the media of the decision taken by Cevons Waste Management and Puran Brothers, the two principal waste disposal entities contracted to the Georgetown Municipality to withdraw their services with effect from Sunday August 6th, 2017 in protest over the absence of progress in our efforts to secure payment, of amounts totaling in excess of three hundred million dollars owing to us by the Georgetown City Council.
Our decision to communicate this information directly to the citizens and institutions in and around the capital who will be affected by any suspension of waste disposal services derives from our awareness of the likely implications of such action. Indeed, it is our wish that a change in the circumstances that led to our decision to withdraw our services in the first place can come about quickly, thereby significantly minimizing the impact of the action that has been taken.
Citizens will be aware that the two companies returned to work on Wednesday, 12th.July, 2017 following four days of an earlier suspension of service beginning on 7th.July, 2017. Our return to work was contingent on an understanding reached with the Municipality that a meeting would be held shortly thereafter to discuss the execution of plans to make a payment to the service providers. Up to this time and notwithstanding assurances given us by Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan that the way had been cleared for such a meeting, the Municipality has shown no inclination to meet with us.
Citizens should be made aware that City Hall’s outstanding debts to us date back as far as 2015. Additionally, City Hall continues to commit itself to an unreasonable time frame for the full and final settlement of these debts. Engagements between City Hall and ourselves as have taken place have been characterized by insensitivity, disrespect for the two companies and a shocking level of brazenness. As has already been mentioned City Hall also appears to have no difficulty in giving commitments to make payments then cynically evading those commitments when the time comes to honor them.
A point has been reached where we have no faith in their promises. Indeed, we doubt that they have the will to settle their debts to us any time soon.
Previous withdrawals of service on our part have led to the short-term recruitment of inadequately equipped replacements. That approach has had its own negative consequences. Our attempt to engage the attention of the Council during our most recent strike action was met by a rude demand that we restore our services before talks take place. After we returned to work on 12th.July, 2017 the promise of talks was cynically set aside by City Hall.
We believe that the citizens of Georgetown would agree that it is entirely unacceptable to expect individuals and/or companies to provide services without being compensated over a protracted period. That is the situation in which we find ourselves. Our services require significant, monetary, labour and equipment outlay and becomes unsustainable in the face of the amounts owing to us by City Hall. We have endured the situation up until now out of a sense of obligation to the citizens of Georgetown. The continual drain on our limited resources coupled with no discernable indication of a meaningful change in the situation for the foreseeable future have pushed us to breaking point.
Mindful as we are of the importance of both the health of the population and the environmental bona fides of our country we have formally notified His Excellency the President of our decision.
The two waste collection companies would wish to communicate to affected citizens our profound regret over the present situation. We have no wish to be seen as holding our capital to ransom.
It is our hope that City Hall will act in a manner that will minimize the difficulties that are bound to arise in this difficult situation.
We intend to keep citizens abreast of the situation as it unfolds.