Georgetown’s City Council on Wednesday said businesses would from September 1, 2017 have to pay for their waste to be collected, even as the municipality promised to pay off the GYD$300 million to the two major garbage collection companies before year-end.
“The city will introduce fees on commercial and industrial waste beginning form the 1st September, 2017. There were consultations with businesses and other stakeholders and it was agreed that commercial and industrial waste should attract special fees,” Town Clerk, Royston King said in a statement.
Well-placed sources said the rates have not yet been set, but they are expected to be three-tiered for small, medium and large businesses.
The City’s administration also announced that by December, 2017 Cevons Waste Management and Puran Brothers would be paid off the more than GYD$300 million owed since 2015 for the provision of waste removal and disposal services.
City Hall’s scrapping of its contracts with those two companies because they had suspended operations to press their case of the debts to be settled has also placed it on a collision course with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) over the violation of deals. “This is on the backdrop that the chamber recognises that non-payment or untimely payments to these contractors for acceptable services rendered to the M&CC is a fundamental breach of contract, yet these contractors have continued to work with the M&CC over the past few years in hopes that the issue could have been resolved amicably,” the Chamber said in a statement.
The Mayor and City Council has since announced that three small private contractors have been hired to help the Solid Waste Management Department to collect garbage once weekly from residential areas and daily from businesses.
The City administration further announced that more trucks and other equipment would be purchased for the Solid Waste Management Department. “Council will retool, re-fleet and re-equip the Solid Waste Management Department to haul and dispose of at least 60% of the city’s waste by the end of December 2017. Technical teams and mechanics will be retrained to service and maintain trucks with new technologies, in this area of our responsibility,” the Town Clerk said.
Currently, City Hall owns four garbage trucks and requires another four which cost at least a total of GYD$140 million, according to sources.
In an effort to reduce the build-up of waste in Georgetown, the Town Clerk said an aggressive public awareness programme in schools, religious organizations, non-governmental organizations and local communities would be launched in another two weeks.
Other measures would include the City Constabulary’s re-establishment of a “special anti-litter squad” with cameras to target litter bugs who are bent on littering and disrupting the aesthetics of the city and hurting the natural environment. “The Council will go forward with its plan to introduce a ticketing system for litter bugs. This will allow those, who litter the city to pay a fine directly to the Council,” he said.
The Town Clerk said the litter ticket fines would provide much needed money to enforce litter and related by-laws and deter those “who intend to hurt the city.”
Meanwhile, City Hall appealed to vendors across Georgetown to ensure they have waste receptacles and keep their surroundings clean. “Also, all those individuals, who are vending around the city are asked to ensure that the areas in which they operate are kept clean and tidy at all times. Vendors must have bags or proper receptacles to dispose of wrappings and other packaging materials that they dispose on a daily basis during the sale of their goods. The Clerk of Markets and the Constabulary will be on patrol to assist vendors, to comply with the city’s by-laws.”