The Belize City Council and Belize Waste Control have reached initial agreement of a settlement of a debt exceeding 2.3 million dollars which was the subject of a court judgment last April. Attorney for Belize Waste Control Fred Lumor gives details.
Fred Lumor – Attorney for Belize Waste Control:
We have resolved the matter so there is no need to proceed any further. The only outstanding issue is that we are going to sign a formal agreement containing the points of agreement. Once that is done, we return to court sometime later in the year and withdraw the application that we have filed to cite the mayor for contempt. Basically the settlement involves Belize waste Control taking a reduced payment than the two point three million dollars awarded in damages and in return the City Council is going to put in place some enforcement measures to stop the illegal garbage collection in the city; especially commercial collection, and then other addressing aspects of the contractual obligation.
The attorney noted that part of the agreement concerned enforcement of the contract as it relates to commercial garbage collection. Previously, certain unknown persons were acting without the Council’s authority by making agreements with businesses and schools. This practice is to be stopped immediately. Negotiations had stalled over the Council’s insistence that the current contract with the sanitation company be included in the deal. But today, Justice Michelle Arana heard that the two sides had agreed to reduce “significantly” the debt in question in exchange for certain concessions by the Council. Actual figures were kept under wraps until the formal agreement is being worked out but both sides told us they were satisfied with the outcome of the case. For Mayor Darrell Bradley, it removes one of his major headaches, since he was liable to be committed to prison if no satisfactory agreement had been reached. He tells us why he does not consider that important.
Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
Well the issue now is that beyond being sited for contempt as a public officer and as a governmental body – it concerns us if there is a court order, we are always mindful to respect the rule of law in our country. So even notwithstanding the contempt proceedings there was a judgment that was entered and it is our obligation as a public entity to make sure we are living up to our obligation. This was the case when we launched a municipal bond. We’re dealing with the debt obligation to the city, not only in this particular case, but in many other cases.
The Mayor says that from here on out, both sides understand each other.
Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
What we did today is that we entered into an agreement in front of Justice Arana, and this agreement has to be finalized, a couple of the terms including the payments that the Council has to make. Those things are yet to be put in place. But we expect that with the spirit of comradery that has been developed with this agreement, that we will move forward and the settlement will be carried into effect, and the City Council for its part is committed to putting this behind us. Sanitation is an essential service. We need people to clean the city, but our part is that we needed to become very efficient [in a] .cost effective manner. I think that going forward they understand what our issues are . We now better understand what their issues are.
We are told that the agreement was completed with the timely intervention of City Councilor Philip Willoughby, who has previously been associated with the sanitation portfolio. The final agreement will be completed by the time the Court returns from summer vacation.