Central government has intervened to ensure that Georgetown’s two major waste disposal companies are paid millions of dollars owed to them by City Hall, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said Friday.
He announced that Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan has taken over the matter with the aim of paying Cevon’s Waste Management and Puran Brother’s Waste Disposal that are together owed more than GYD$300 million since 2015.
“They (the companies) have actually made proposals for the settlement of these outstanding amounts and it is engaging the Minister of Communities right now and after it will come to Cabinet for Cabinet to deliberate on it,” Harmon said.
While government has largely maintained that local authorities should manage their affairs without the intervention of central government, Harmon stated categorically that, “throughout the process that was taking place it was recognised that this was a matter to be dealt with by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council but we recognise now that there is a problem and it makes no sense for us to operate as if there is no problem.”
“We believe once people have done work they should be paid and so I want to give that assurance to the service providers that government is unmindful of the fact that they provided a service and that they have it been paid,” he said.
After the companies stopped collecting domestic and commercial waste in an effort to pressure City Hall to pay the long outstanding debt, Town Clerk Royston King fired back by telling the companies to stop working for the capital city. In turn, the companies laid off almost 90 workers because they had no monies to pay them. The State Minister said the loss of jobs was an important factor that influenced government’s decision to pay.