It is a problem that has dogged the Belize City Hall for many years – its privatized sanitation contracts with Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) and Belize Waste Control (BWC). The Belize City Council owes substantial debt from court judgments to both companies and in addition is behind again on weekly payments for this year – by a whopping three months in the case of Waste Control. An exasperated Mayor Bradley says the Council continues to fight on.
Mayor Darrel Bradley of Belize City
“I just wish to make this clear, that we are always behind payments with the various …both sanitation companies, but three weeks, whatever we are behind with them , it is, I don’t know the time, but we are always behind with them…that is the phenomenon that existed before me; it is likely to be a phenomenon that will exist after me. The reality is that those contracts are too high and City can’t pay for it. In relation to the sanitation contracts, we are to supposed to report back to court in regards to certain areas of coordination that we’re working in terms of hot spots, in terms of disputes that they raise, we have to answer them. And of course, they ask us to look at the situation with the arrears; we are doing better because our enforcements mechanisms including the driver’s license issue, where we don’t release driver’s license if you owe, all of those things are performing. So, we are doing better, we are not as bad as we were last year, but we are still bad, we are still behind in relation to them and we recognize that we have to do better”.
The companies will be working along with City Hall to clear the debt.
Mayor Darrel Bradley
“They will work with us, but with…I mean, if it’s three months, that’s a long time. I’m in business…I couldn’t wait for three months for bills to be paid; I recognize that that’s an issue. We have situation where we have contracts which take out the bulk of our revenue, we are very aggressive in terms of infrastructure, in terms of public spaces, and that revenue amount that we spend on sanitation has to shrink…it has to shrink because we’re spending now in other things,…and that’s where we have an increased conflict in this particular area. We are trying to work on it, but that will unlikely be a situation that we will solve anytime soon”.