Garbage collection in the city is set to return to normality for the holiday season as private contractors Puran Brothers Waste Disposal Inc and Cevons Waste Management Inc will resume their services from today until the end of the year.
The two contractors will no longer be the financial responsibility of City Hall as central government, through the Ministry of Communities, has agreed to accept financial responsibility for the service, Town Clerk Royston King told Sunday Stabroek yesterday.
“Government has liquidated the debt owed by council to the garbage collectors. They have further engaged the contractor to work for the rest of the year to ensure the sanitation of the city,” King said.
Earlier this month, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) had approached the Central Government, through the Ministry of Communities, for a bail out of $475,635,245 to settle the city’s debt to both Puran Brothers and Cevons, as well as another company, Dartmouth Skips Rental.
It was the debt, which dated back to 2015, that precipitated a decision by the two main contractors to suspend their operations in August. King later notified them that the city viewed their planned suspension of collection services as a “termination” of their contracts with the municipality.
Although City Hall retained smaller contractors and deployed its own trucks to ensure adequate garbage collection, its efforts have not been entirely successful and Mayor Patricia Chase-Green recently declared that the city was in a crisis.
Asked about the status of the city’s contracts with Puran Brothers and Cevons yesterday, the Town Clerk noted that they will be reviewed “early in the New Year.” Asked specifically whether the services the contractors will be providing from today is part of that contract, King said, “the contractors withdrew services because we couldn’t pay them… they were paid and they are now re-engaged to clean the city, albeit under the auspices of central government though they will be managed by the city.”
Puran Brothers has since confirmed that the company has been paid most of the money owed to it and it expects to receive the outstanding sums by the end of the year. It has also confirmed that they will be resuming services today.
“We got a reasonable sum and hopefully the rest will be paid by the end of the year. Residents need to know we will resume work from [today] with the regular schedule back in place, except for adaptations to deal with the backlog,” Kaleshwar Puran explained, while noting that they expected to return to the regular collection schedule by the end of the week.
Morse Archer, of Cevons, who said he has been paid completely, noted that a similar system will be used by his company.
“The schedule will remain the same but we will be slow initially because of the amount of garbage on the ground. So, if we usually collect at 9 we might be there at 10,” he explained.