WPA concerned over impact of city garbage tussle on health of citizens

With the Georgetown city council unable to retain the services of private garbage collectors Cevons Waste Management Inc and Puran Brothers Disposal Inc, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) yesterday voiced its concern over the potential impact of the situation on the health and the lives of the citizenry.

“WPA believes that, notwithstanding the fact that there has been an announcement from the Town Clerk’s office of an agreement with a number of small contractors who will be collaborating with the Council’s waste collection department to address the situation, residents of Georgetown and its environs are very worried about the possible negative impact to their health as a result of the approach of the Council’s administrators to payment of garbage collectors,” the party said in a statement issued yesterday.

“WPA calls on Central Government to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of citizens of Georgetown in this period of grave uncertainty engendered by the inability of the Council to deal with the problem,” it added.

After the two companies had announced plans to withdraw their services over the continued failure of City Hall to honour its debts—which amounts to approximately $300 million in total—they were informed that their actions were viewed by the council as a termination of service since their contracts did not cater for any suspension by them.

Town Clerk Royston King has since said that both companies would be paid by the end of the year.

The party blamed the inability of the administration at City Hall, which is headed by King, to effectively manage the resources of the council for the situation, while noting that the two private contractors have previously withdrawn their services due to the failure of the city to meet its financial commitments to them.

As a result, the party warned that while small contractors could be effective in the short term, they would have great difficulty in the medium- and long-term continuing their operations “if and when they are confronted with the same conditions which negatively impacted the operations of Cevons and Puran Brothers.”

WPA added that it is of the view that the problems of the city council are partly rooted in the shortfall of revenue and the poor performance of its top administrators for a number of years. “The continued existence of these factors has eliminated any chance of the Council arriving at a solution to its many problems and must be addressed,” it further said, while emphasising its belief that a long-term solution to the administrative shortfall in the council is critical to a more “enlightened/professional approach” to addressing the council’s problems.

The party said that while it does not see this being addressed with the urgency it deserves, it council should adopt a three-pronged approach which involves (a) immediately re-engaging the large contractors, with the issue of outstanding and current payments not only talked about as being allotted a high priority but the Council must ensure that payment timelines are kept; (b) the continued employment of small contactors with payment schedules being kept; and (c) the council must move expeditiously to develop its own capacity to actively participate in the garbage collection exercise in Georgetown.

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