Anticipated new City contracts with Cevons, Puran’s could make or break garbage disposal regime

Puran Brothers CEO Kalesh Puran

The contents of communication expected to be handed over to Cevons Waste Mana-gement and Puran Brothers by the Georgetown City Council providing details of the garbage collection arrangements between the two service providers and the Council could trigger a radical shift in the existing relationships according to information reaching the Stabroek Business.

On Wednesday this newspaper learnt that the anticipated communication to the two companies from City Hall is likely to reflect changes in their existing contractual arrangements that could reduce the volume of garbage collection assigned to  them by as much as 35%, a decision that could realise a significant reduction in their earnings.

Late on Wednesday Stabroek Business met with representatives of both companies during which the Chief Executive Officers of both companies declined to discuss the likely contents of the communication which they said they were anticipating from the Council though they both said that they would both be deeply concerned if the contents of the communication reflected any adjustment in the existing contractual arrangement.

Lying Idle: Part of the Cevon’s fleet of garbage trucks

Late last year both companies withdrew their services over the failure of City Hall to pay them more than $160 million dollars in fees for garbage disposal services provided in the capital and its environs between June and November last year.  While, for the second time in as many years government has intervened to make monies available to partially liquidate the current debt, both companies have told Stabroek Business that they have serious concerns about the future of their respective relationships with City Hall. Following the withdrawal of their services late last year City Hall claimed that the two companies had breached their Agreements with the Council though the companies, in turn claim that by failing to make payments over a protracted period of time it was the company that was in breach of the Agreements.

Evidence of Garbage pileups could be seen in the capital earlier this week

Stabroek Business has seen the existing contract between the municipality and Cevons Waste Management which came into force on October 5th 2015 and lasts until October 4th 2020. This newspaper understands that the duration of the contract applicable to Puran Brothers is identical.

Despite the five-year duration of the present contract, information emanating from City Hall has pointed to what is believed to be an alteration of the conditions of both contracts which speak not only to duration but to the volume of work assigned to each of them. Information emanating from City Hall suggests that the Council is likely to move to spread the existing volume of garbage disposal assignments amongst an increased number of contractors in which instance the sizes of the contracts afforded Cevons and Puran’s would be reduced. Neither company would either confirm or deny that they are poised to move to the courts if the existing contracts are adjusted in a manner that leaves them disadvantaged.

Late last year an intervention by government resulted in some state funds, the amount of which has not been revealed to this newspaper, being made available to liquidate part of the debt though both companies disclosed on Wednesday that up until now no payments have been made to them. The two company heads told Stabroek Business that while they were actively pursuing payments an equally important concern was with the absence of clarity on City Hall’s part up until now in circumstances where in excess of two dozen specialized trucks which cannot be deployed into any alternative service are “parked” and dozens of employees are left to contemplate their future. All of this, the Puran’s spokesman told Stabroek Business was happening in circumstances  where “serious investments” had been made in recruiting, training, equipping and protecting their workers from the hazards associated with the nature of the duties that they are required to perform.

Since December, with City Hall having failed to respond to pronouncements from the two companies that they are prepared to return to work following the release of central government funds to enable partial liquidation of payments, both companies have been assigned limited contracts to dispose of garbage in various parts of the city though they both say that the sizes of those contracts, apart from being temporary are insufficient to cover operating costs. “We found that there was a huge backlog of work to be cleared up which suggested that the companies which City Hall had recruited were not coping,” the Puran’s CEO told Stabroek Business. Both of the current limited contracts only afford the two companies garbage disposal responsibilities in two each of the five wards each that they are assigned under their respective contracts with City Hall.

Asserting that the attitude of City Hall towards its garbage disposal contractors was ‘bad for business as a whole”, Kalesh Puran said that  they had decided to wait “in good faith” on today’s engagement with City Hall at which a new document is expected to be made available to the two companies.

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