Solid Waste Director pitches 24-hour garbage collection service

-as city grapples with fulfilling debts to contractors

Garbage could be collected on a 24-hour basis in the commercial district of the city if a proposal by the Solid Waste Department is approved. (Stabroek News file photo)

At Monday’s statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), it was disclosed that the city’s Solid Waste Department is looking to introduce a 24-hour garbage collection system within the commercial district of the city.

Solid Waste Director Walter Narine had noted that the plan was suggested because collectors only work from 7 am to 1 pm, Monday to Friday.

“After they are finished working, there is still a large amount of garbage to be collected around 5 and 6 in the afternoon. This looks bad on the council and now that we are approaching a peak season—Christmas—there will be more garbage to be collected,” Narine explained.

However, Councillors and Mayor Patricia Chase-Green suggested that a wider consultation be held before cementing a decision.

Chase-Green pointed out that the council will have to discuss the new idea with the workers’ union and explore avenues to pay staff who will be working the night shift. She noted that in the past, a similar idea was floated at council by councillors, and residents had objected to the 24-hour garbage collection service.

“They had said they won’t feel comfortable with people coming picking up garbage in the middle of the night,” she recalled.

Narine’s recommendation comes even as the M&CC struggles to satisfy its financial obligations to private contractors, Puran Brothers Waste Disposal Inc and Cevons Waste Management Inc, which have been hired to enhance the city’s capacity to handle the management of its waste.

Earlier this week, representatives of the companies said they may be forced to consider pulling their services once again from Georgetown as City Hall has racked up another debt, totalling nearly $150 million between them.

The disclosure was made at the Haags Bosch Landfill by both the General Manager of Puran Brothers Waste Disposal Service, Kalesh Puran and the Chief Executive Officer of Cevons Waste Management, Morse Archer.

“So far, we haven’t heard anything concrete but we are still working at the moment. The other payments were settled. All they paid for apart from the arrears was for January, February, March and April but from May to September is still outstanding,” Archer explained.

Puran also said his company has not received any definite communication from City Hall, despite having a meeting with the administration last week.

Earlier in the year, payments of $175,820,280 were made to Puran Brothers and $205,596,924 to Cevons by central government to cover outstanding debts. City Hall had also made a commitment to pay the contractors on time in 2018.

During past withdrawals of services by the companies, City Hall has been unable to ensure adequate waste disposal.

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