Georgetown Mayor proposes new bylaws for litterbugs to pay fines without going to court

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Mayor Ubraj Narine

Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine, during a recent news conference, revealed that he has proposed new bylaws which he believes will significantly address the issue of solid waste management in the city, including to have litterbugs immediately pay a fine without having to go through the lengthy route of being processed through the court. He is also proposing heftier penalties for littering.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall had previously explained that there would be no increase in littering fines until there are higher prosecution rates.

The Georgetown Mayor and City Council, under the Municipal and District Act, Chapter 28:01, is allowed to fine persons $10,000 for littering while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can penalise an individual for up to $50,000 while a corporate body can be issued a fine of $100,000.

The Georgetown Mayor believes that if these new bylaws are approved by the Local Govenrment Ministry, there will be significant improvement in City Hall’s ability to clamp down on littering.

Under the new bylaw, a first offence would carry a fine of $10,000, a second offence $20,000 and a third offence no less than $35,000 but no more than $500,000.

“At this point of time, anybody can dump anything around the city of Georgetown there is no kind of fine you can impose immediately, and this fine that is stipulated in the bylaws you don’t have to go to court…it’s like a ticket, you’ll get to pay and you have to pay, and if you don’t pay it…every person who remains in default of payment for more than 72 hours committing an offence and upon summary of conviction is liable for imprisonment for six months,” the Mayor argued.

Speaking on the Act set out by the EPA, the Georgetown Mayor explained that the City Council would have to heavily invest their resources to enforce this legislation and in return they receive nothing.

“I heard many times the Honourable Minister made mention of the EPA Act. But let us put it in this context, the EPA Act is there yes, we have to enforce such an Act which is a national agency and we do not get anything from it. But the Mayor and City Council resources has to be spent to prepare the cases and so on and go to court, we have to do the patrol, we have to the policing and everything.”

“That’s why in any city across the world, let us take it to our neighboring countries Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, let look at those countries. The city has a littering bylaw and we need to enforce such a bylaw independently at the level of the city so that is what we are calling on the Honourable Minister to approve,” he stated.

Mayor Narine further related that they require more support from the government to better tackle this issue.

“I believe that we have the resources at the national level or at the central government level which the city of Georgetown and central government can work together to prevent this kind of illegal activity in our city,” he explained.