No further payments have been made available by the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) to waste disposal contractors in order to have them resume garbage collection in the city. However, this newspaper understands that Crawler and Wheeler Waste Disposal Service has since resumed operation which is constituted by its ensuring the integrity of the Mandela Avenue dumpsite.
Since the suspension of garbage collection by the contractors last week, the municipality has been forced to put measures in place to ensure that the waste disposal needs of the city are met – a move which has so far proven to be successful.
It is with this achievement in mind that a municipal administrative meeting was engaged yesterday to seriously consider the possibly of the municipality addressing its own garbage collection needs on a permanent basis, sooner rather than later.
In fact it was revealed to this newspaper yesterday that the contract the municipality has had with the contractors expired since late last year and there has been no renewed binding agreement between the two parties. However, in recognition of the fact that the municipality did not have the necessary resources to undertake its own collection, a decision was taken to have the contractors continue their operation, though unofficially.
This newspaper was informed, too, that yesterday’s meeting was geared at discussing plans to engage a pilot programme which could see the municipality exclusively collecting garbage from at least three areas.
However, according to Public Relations Officer, Royston King, the municipality will have to solicit support from the private sector if its efforts are to be sustained.
More than $60M is still owed to the contractors despite efforts by the municipality to pay a small sum of $12M, two weeks ago. According to King “we are still unable to make the remaining portion of the money available to our solid waste contractors and we do not know when we will be in a position to do so.”
And without additional payment, the contractors have vowed to continue to withhold their services. The municipality has been able to mobilise its own resources and has so far not been doing too bad in terms of cleaning certain vulnerable areas, particularly those known for commercial activities, King asserted. “We have been doing lots of work in the main business areas and also in some of the wards. I understand our people were in Albouystown/Charlestown area doing some cleaning…”
However the municipal’s financial status may remain shaky for a while longer in the face of the prevailing challenge, as according to King, in order to ensure the integrity of the city, the municipality has sought to expand the assignment of workers with tractors and trailers by engaging a shift system. This, he said, will result in the workers being paid for the extra hours they work.
It was just last week that King confessed that the recent challenge comes as an opportunity for the municipality to see whether it can manage its own solid waste arrangement by collecting and disposing of the city’s accumulated garbage.
“It is giving us a chance to test ourselves; to test our experience and the equipment that we have, even with our limited financial resources.”
But this current dilemma is merely added to the plethora of such experiences that the municipality has had over the years. However, King said that while the municipality may have the will to the deal with the prevailing situation, its inability is rooted in the lack of efficient supportive systems and financial resources.
He emphasised the need for an effective and efficient workshop with an adequate amount of spares and human resources with the skills and ability to repair and undertake proper maintenance to vehicles if an in-house garbage disposal system is to be fully realised.
Meanwhile, Acting Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe has revealed that the municipality is still in no position to pay staffers’ wages and salaries for this month. According to her, it is expected that enough funds would be garnered to allow payments to be made by the end of next week.
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