Inching towards a crisis?

It is not our opinion that City Hall, on its own, intends to enter into an arrangement that allows for an expeditious settlement of its debts to its waste disposal contractors. Instead, it has handled this matter in the fashion of a ‘run around.’ Notwithstanding the importance of maintaining an acceptable safety and health and environmental regime in the capital and of protecting the jobs and livelihoods of working class Guyanese and their families, it has not been our opinion that City Hall is overly concerned about bringing an end to this unpalatable situation. That notwithstanding, we wish to place on the table, once again, the recommendation that central government effect a sensitive intervention in order to expedite the conclusion of this deeply regrettable situation. There is no evidence before us of an alternative settlement to this matter.

Up until now it appears that we have managed to avert the worst eventualities that could arise from City Hall’s garbage crisis arising out of its humongous debt to its two (now terminated?) major contractors and their replacement with an assortment of presumably short-term operators.

What is already painfully obvious is that the replacement service providers lack the capacity – in terms of inventory to provide the quality of service usually provided by the more seasoned operators. Evidence of piled up garbage, long delays in garbage removal and the use of vehicles clearly not designed to move garbage safely and efficiently has been turning up all over the city. What appears to be the case is that City Hall is seeking to stave off the worst excesses of a garbage crisis in downtown Georgetown and that they are paying the price in the inner city areas where – as was mentioned earlier – there is evidence of a pileup.

The important question, down the road, has to do with just how long the two substantive contractors will remain off the job and out of work and whether the stand-ins will be able to sustain what is in fact a specialized and highly demanding task over a longer period of time. The likelihood that we may yet be confronted with a garbage crisis if the status quo remains the same cannot be ruled out.

One regrettable eventuality up to this time has been the announcement yesterday by Cevon’s Waste Management that with effect from, Septem-ber 1 up to around 40 of its workers will be without jobs. Cevon’s has explained in its announcement that it has little choice but to go down that road though that being said and as the company’s CEO Mr. Morse Archer himself admits, a week before school reopens is a decidedly awkward time to remove employees with children from their jobs.

Unless this newspaper is thoroughly mistaken City Hall has not exactly wrapped itself up in layers of neglect over this situation. It seems unable to resist a tendency between maintaining a stony silence and blurting out occasional absurdities. Up to this time it has done nothing to suggest that it has anything realistic to put on the table as far as moving in the direction of a solution to the situation is concerned. There are those who may argue that the central government ought not, correctly, to be intervening in this matter; but then, all things considered is there really any valid option?


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