City’s garbage woes…Town Clerk opposes Govt’s bailoutBy Lakhram BhagiratGeorgetown Mayor Patricia Chase-Green has said the city is in a crisis all way round, especially when it comes to addressing the current garbage situation, since the two major contractors withdrew their services owing to nonpayment.At an Extraordinary Statutory Meeting last week, she bashed Solid Waste Director Walter Narine for allegedly misguiding her in relation to the current garbage situation. “I am looking at a bailout from the Government to bring this city back in order, because the garbage is killing me, and Mr. Narine can’t tell me they got ‘no red velvet’ out there because the place nasty. On Mandela Avenue it is laced with garbage…there is garbage everywhere,” she said.“We are in a crisis…with this garbage. I am not listening to Mr. Narine anymore, because he is not directing me right. He telling me one thing in here, and when I go out there, is something else; and I am believing everything I seeing with my own two eyes,” Chase-Green added.The embattled Mayor has said she is going to personally approach the Government for the over-$475-million bailout to settle the debt with Puran Brothers and Cevon’s Waste Management. She noted that the smaller contractors who were taken on to fill the gaps do not have the capacity to continue picking up the city’s garbage on a long-term basis.The M&CC had approached the Central Government, through the Ministry of Communities, for a bailout of four hundred and seventy-five million, six hundred and thirty-five thousand, two hundred and forty-five dollars ($475,635,245) to settle the city’s debt to both Puran Brothers, Cevons, and another company.“The garbage isn’t under control, and I got to get it in control. I going to the Government and beg for this bailout, because we got to get this place in order. We can look at small contractors to assist us, but they don’t have the capacity to do it; they don’t have the kind of trucks,” the Mayor said.“Look at the open-back trucks; we should not be allowing it, but we had to because it is the only thing we had at the time; but it’s not the right type of vehicles to carry garbage through the city. I will not sit here as Mayor and allow us to go down the drain,” she further stated.Town Clerk Royston King has opposed the bailout, stating that City Hall is an autonomous agency and accepting a Government bailout undermines its autonomy.“We should not depend on Government for any bailouts or handouts; and if Government supports us we are happy, but this Council is autonomous and we have all the provisions to raise our own revenues, and we can do it…we must not hope for bailouts, because when you get bailouts from Government you are diluting your own authority and autonomy,” King stated.Earlier last week, Solid Waste Director Narine had said the two contractors would come back with reduced responsibilities.“They will not come back with the same luxury they had when both of them had 5 groups each. They will not come back with that. What I am thinking of, going forward, is we have 15 constituency and let us do constituency clearance; and in that way all the small contractors get a bite with Cevons and Puran,” Narine posited.“The city will do some cleaning. Actually, the city would do four constituencies, and Puran, Cevons, Grandison (Waste), Sandeep (Waste) would have two each…,” he added.Narine said that the new arrangement would see each contractor being paid $10 million per month for their services, as compared to the previous range from $43million to $45million per month.On September 1, the M&CC implemented fees for commercial waste collection. Small business operators are required to pay $5000 per month, while medium sized businesses will contend with $8000 per month. However, large business operators across Georgetown are required to pay the most significant figure of $12,000 per month for their waste collection.The Solid Waste Director had told the Council that while the originally approved fees for commercial garbage collection were $5000, $10,000 and $15,000; the latter two were reduced to $8000 and $12,000 after consultations.Puran Brothers Disposal and Cevon’s Waste Management withdrew services on July 30, 2017, as City Hall’s debts had risen to the multi-million-dollar range. According to the companies, the issue of non-payment has been a longstanding one, with many debts going as far back as 2015.Many Councillors at Monday’s statutory meeting commended themselves for keeping the city clean despite the withdrawal of these waste disposal services. A Councillor, however, noted reports that a truck (registration number provided) was going around and charging some residents $500 to empty their barrels – a service which currently attracts no additional fees for homeowners.