Rumors have been circulating for sometime that sanitation companies Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC) plan to picket City Hall over the annual problem of falling behind on sanitation payments. At last report, although the Council disputes the figure, Belize Waste Control is owed 15 weeks of payments and BML a similar figure. Mayor Darrell Bradley puts the matter into perspective.
“Our countdown is that we are about ten weeks behind with them. In relation to this current period, we are not anywhere more behind with them than we were last year. The difficulty is and we approach this from a structural point of view, that I maintain these Sanitation Contracts represent 45% of the city’s outlays, it is too costly on the City. What we are doing is unsustainable. If you recall last year, Geovanni, at this present moment, there were waste control personnel right in front of my office, picketing; I know that under Zenaida’s term in office, there was protest as well, so that this is a situation that goes on for years and years and years…and it’s only going to be soft is we take a very realistic look at the sanitation contractors”.
The Mayor mentioned a number of initiatives to address the issue.
Mr. Darrel Bradley- Mayor of Belize City
“One of the things that we have tried to do is put in place the residential garbage fee so that the cost for the city could be absorbed in part by residents taking up that responsibility. A thing which will help us in relation to that is one of the sanitation contracts (the BML Contract) which costs us $78,000 per week that will expire in January in 2015,,,and what we had envision there is that we are not going to renew that contract. We are going to put in place what is called Sway Laws to require members of the public to maintain two feet in front of the property line. That is going to help us tremendously to make sure that there is alleviation and that the tax burden and that the expense that sanitation costs the City goes down substantially. If the BML contract is destroyed by time, that’s going to be a savings of $4M from the city’s revenue that we could put in the streets, drains, public spaces and we could ensure that we don’t have much of a problem with the waste control contract”.
The Mayor continues to insist that the Council’s revenue is too irregular to ensure regular payments to the companies. But we have heard that the matter has reached the ears of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, whom we were told could possibly be leaned on to assist with finance of the issue. We queried the Mayor on this point and were told that no such plan exists.
Mr. Darrel Bradley: “No. The meeting that I had with the Prime Minister was in relation to all city projects. It primarily concerns infrastructure that was before he left and he has returned Friday and we are supposed to have some follow ups. We haven’t had those follow ups yet.”
Reporter: “Has the Prime Minister offered to help in meeting its payment with the Belize Waste Control?”
Mr. Darrel Bradley: “The Prime Minister is always very supportive in relation to any initiative of the city. The Prime Minister is very supportive in our infrastructures, was supportive in relation to the bond, was very supportive with the BTL Park. The Prime Minister has made no commitments in relation to assisting us with waste control. He’s helped us before, but is not with waste control.”