Restoration task force submits report

–waste management critical issue

The National Task Force Commission (NTFC) for the Rehabilitation, Restoration and Renewal of Guyana has submitted its preliminary report to Minister of Public Infra-structure David Patterson for revision.

Head of the Commission Major General (rtd) Joseph Singh did not say what the proposed budgets were in the report for the six sub committees, stating that cabinet had to review the report and determine if the budgets and plans proposed were feasible.

At a press briefing held at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Singh noted that contained in the preliminary report was the very real need for waste management. He said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has held steadfast to its right to reject various proposals for landfill sites. Not getting into specifics, Singh said contractors that bid for waste management contracts are not willing to invest in the necessary preliminary infrastructure.

He said a proposal will be sent to cabinet to cover the cost of initial preliminary infrastructure which would adhere to international waste management requirements and to have potential bidders accept the maintenance costs. He said that the situation was very much “between a rock and a hard place.”

While lauding the EPA’s firm stance, he acknowledged that the lack of waste treatment in Guyana countrywide was a very real issue that needed immediate attention. Gordon Gilkes is currently heading the Solid Waste Management Committee.

Singh told Stabroek News that the NTFC’s life is expected to last until 2020. He noted that at that point in time “Once the structures are established then there ought not to be a need for a National Task Force Commission because by definition the work to address these areas of concern would be efficiently executed, one would hope, by those agencies that are tasked with that responsibility.”

He acknowledged that full integration of the subcommittee was necessary at the municipal level. He spoke about the pending Local Government Elections in March noting that the changing players at the local level will affect the commission.

The chairman said that purpose of the commission was to be a catalyst for change and direction. He pointed out that the one area he was disappointed with was the Welfare Management of the Home-less, Addicts and Mentally Challenged Committee, which will now be headed by Leslyn Holder.

Singh said this committee has been “lethargic” but added that on Monday Holder will chair her first meeting at the Ministry of Social Protection. He said more work was necessary to get all the necessary components working together. Singh cited the agencies that are being brought on board to offer services and work cohesively such as the Phoenix House, the Hugo Chavez Centre the Salvation Army.

As regards the remaining four committees: National Drainage; Traffic Management; Sustainable Physical Renewal Countrywide and Public and Stakeholder Consultation, Singh spoke of the work being done and the successful integration mechanisms.

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