Puran Brothers Disposal Inc and Cevons Waste Management have withdrawn their garbage collection services from Georgetown due to the failure of the cash-strapped Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to meet its financial commitments to the two companies, which are owed in excess of $300 million.
The M&CC yesterday admitted that although it had reached an agreement with the two companies earlier in the year for the City Treasurer to focus on payment of the current accounts while working out a strategy to settle the outstanding debts for 2016, its limited financial resources resulted in a payment delay on the two contractors’ accounts for 2017.
The current monthly payment to both contractors is $45 million.
In an invited comment, the Chief Executive Officer of Cevons Waste Management Morse Archer told Stabroek News that the city owes his company some $184 million since August, 2015. He said that he would not able to say when the company would be resuming collection of garbage throughout Georgetown, as it depends on the results of further discussions with the M&CC. “The thing is that certain commitments were made by the city to us and they are not being followed so that’s where it went downhill,” he said.
According to Archer, Thurs-day was the last day that company collected garbage in the city.
The companies have previously suspended their collection services due to the city’s arrears. They had threatened to pull services near the end of last year due to the situation. An attempt by the M&CC to assume responsibility for collection in several city wards last year was unsuccessful.
In a statement issued yesterday, the M&CC said that it has entered into discussions with the two contractors and offered a proposal going forward to settle its accounts with them. It noted that they are owed over $300 million for works done in the city. “The proposal is with our contractors and the Council awaits their counter proposal and general reaction to it,” it added.
In the interim, the M&CC said it will use all of its current resources, through an inter-departmental approach, to ensure that the city is clean. It noted that a schedule of new collection arrangements and advisories will be published in the local media to ensure that citizens are well aware of the interim plans.
“The council will also call on its loyal friends with the appropriate resources to help to secure the integrity of the general environment of the City of George-town,” it added, while stating that it expects that the residents around the city will cooperate fully and support its efforts to ensure that Georgetown remains clean in “this… challenging period.” It advised that citizens ensure that they store their garbage in a proper manner and wait on the M&CC’s collection trucks. Citizens should desist from dumping and littering their immediate and general surroundings, it added.
Additionally, the M&CC explained that the City Trea-surer’s Department has increased its revenue collection drive in order to recover outstanding monies that are owed by corporations and individual property owners, since it needs “every cent of its money owed by defaulters” to continue to provide essential city services.
According to the M&CC, Solid Waste Management is an extremely expensive exercise to the city and accounts for 9.1% of its total budget, which does not include other public health and environmental services related to this aspect of council’s responsibility..