Over $300M owed by M&CC accumulated from 2015-2016 clean-up campaigns – Mayor

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… says payments with new contractors will be made in portions to cope 

Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green on Tuesday told news reporters that the over $300M owed to Cevons Waste Management and Puran Brothers Disposal was accumulated during the several clean up campaigns within the 2015-2016 periods.

Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene

“During our 2015-2016 clean-up of the entire city, you know what the city was like, all the alley ways had to be cleaned out, the cemetery had to be cleaned, the entire city had to be cleaned. There was heaps of garbage all over the city. There was so much of dirt in this city  that we would have spent money to clean up,” she told reporters in front of City Hall where she fielded questions.

Furthermore, despite claims that the contract between the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the larger garbage companies has been scrapped, Chase-Green asserted that this was not the case.

“I’m not certain that the contract with the two existing persons have been scrapped. The letter was so kind to say ‘look you are more or less in a breach of our contract with us’. But we have not scrapped it. We’re still in negotiations with those two contractors to find a consensus to how we’re going to pay the $300M.”

Nevertheless, she confirmed that in the interim, while Cevons’ and Puran’s have withdrawn their services, three newly contracted garbage companies- two of which are Campbell’s Waste Management and SanDip Waste Disposal- have been brought on board “to ensure the city is kept clean at all times.”

Against the backdrop of it being public knowledge that the M&CC is not financially equipped to service their over $300M debt, Chase-Green was asked how the Council intends to pay the three new garbage companies contracted.

She then explained that City Hall can only afford to pay in portions, which was not a condition Cevons and Puran’s were open to.

“…the larger contractors want to be paid all their money at one time and I did have a proposal where we would be paying them a particular amount of the $300 … over a period of time, [but] they were not willing to accept that… While the small contractors have agreed that they will take their money in portions” said Chase-Green.

For quite some time, the M&CC has professed being ‘cash strapped’, and on multiple occasions, work around the city had to be halted since the municipality was unable to pay workers.

During December 2016, the M&CC had appealed to Central Government for a $600 million bailout- with $300M of that amount earmarked for servicing their debt to Cevons’ and Puran’s. However, that request was denied.

Moreover, on Friday last during a Post Cabinet briefing, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that while the Government is concerned about the current financial situation at City Hall, it does not warrant their involvement at this point in time.

In a joint statement on Saturday, Puran Brothers Disposal Inc and Cevons Waste Management announced its intentions to withdraw their services to City Hall, as the lack of payment to the companies continued despite promises to be paid.

The statement explained that the issue of non-payment for services rendered had been a long-standing one, dating as far back as 2015.

Prior to this falling out, the companies resumed work after a four-day suspension of services over the same issue.

They stated that their return was conditional, pending a meeting that they had requested be held to discuss payments.

The Garbage companies noted that since then, despite assurances from the Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan, there has been no such meeting nor has the municipal authorities “shown (any) inclination to meet with us.”

Following the companies pulling their services, the M&CC reacted swiftly to put mechanisms in place by hiring the three smaller contracting services to conduct once weekly disposal services for residential areas and once daily disposals for the commercial areas.

Town Clerk, Royston King has since been quoted in the media assuring that the council’s debt to the two companies will be settled, even as Chase-Green has repeatedly said that City Hall cannot afford to clear its debt at this time since they have other financial obligations to honour. (Ramona Luthi)

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