On Tuesday morning Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley and Belize Waste Control were back in court in the latest effort to resolve the contentious sanitation dispute. Last week they were at each other’s throats over the Council’s alleged cavalier attitude about paying the sanitation company on time and there were threats of further litigation. But apparently, that was all it was – talk. The two sides have entered into a consent order before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin after Belize Waste Control indicated a willingness to settle the dispute. The Mayor spoke to reporters at court.
“The litigation is finished. The court had on the last occasion granted an adjournment to today’s date for the claimants in this case [Belize] Waste Control to file what is called a statement of facts and issues for the court to satisfy itself what triable issues there still are. The claimants did not file that document and they had indicated to the court this morning that we were going to press settlement of the matter and we entered into a consent order which the City Council agreed to and which they likewise agreed to. Essentially what it is is that they claimed for arrears they are satisfied that that has been satisfied. There was a matter that they were pressing us for a deduction that we made when they took strike action. We deducted ten thousand dollars from their weekly amount because we felt that they were not providing the services to time because of industrial action. They had indicated to us that because they were not being paid they would not provide the service and so we withheld a portion of their weekly amount. What we’ve agreed to do is that we have agreed to give them that which is ten thousand dollars and the entire claim has been discontinued and we’re no longer in litigation.”
According to the Mayor, the two sides intend to settle without resorting to the courts. He outlines what will be the topics up for discussion and updates on where the Council is with the debt.
Mayor Darrell Bradley
“I had maintained from the beginning though that there are serious and substantial issues as between the parties which will continue not in court. We are still hoping to work out issues in relation to exclusivity and other directions that the council may wish to take; recycling and other areas which they have raised to us is of concern to them, but at this present moment we are two weeks behind our payments. We feel that we could maintain this position since it is our tax season and we could maintain this position going into August, this year and we anticipate that beyond August the gap will again widen, as it does every single year, and we will be able to close that gap, December of 2014 going into March of 2015. This is a situation that happens every single year. It’s sad that we have to be in litigation, but we maintain that the City Council is a responsible entity. We pay our debts. In December we were at fifteen weeks, now we’re at two. We are within the terms of the contract, because the contract allows you lawfully to be four weeks in arrears. By settling this matter, and by agreeing to the consent order, I take it that they have conceded that that is in fact the position, because [they’re] not pressing the litigation. They seem to be satisfied.”
The Council has acknowledged debts owed to other entities including Belize Maintenance Limited (BML.).