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Aug 5, 2015

BML and CitCo Back in Court Over Partially Paid Judgment

Darrell Bradley

This time last year, the staff of Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) was protesting in front of City Hall; garbage was strewn across the street and the protestors were arrested by police. The workers were complaining that the City Council would not pay BML for its work and they were losing their jobs. The two sides eventually reached agreement along with the Central Government and in January, many but not all of the workers were hired as part of the taking over of their sanitation contract by the Belize City Council. If you thought that would end the long-standing impasse between the two, those hopes have temporarily been dashed by news that the two are in court yet again. This time the dispute is over a partially paid judgment owed by the council from years ago and which is not connected to the settlement of the contract dispute which led to the protest. While things are not that drastic, Mayor Darrell Bradley has hope for settlement this time, though he suspects it will take rather longer. He told us more.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We still have an issue with them that we owe them a sizeable judgment which is in excess of two million dollars. And we had a situation similarly with Waste Control, but we managed over the last two years to negotiate with Waste Control and pay them off. Now what we are doing with BML is that we are paying them off, we have to pay them fifteen thousand dollars per week; we have entered into an agreement with them. We are getting a contribution from the central government to meet that outlay. It is very difficult for us to meet that every single week because again, we are looking at the slow season—it is not like you have that inflow from trade license, from traffic revenues, from property taxes that are coming in. These revenues typically come in the months of January to March. After those months, the City Council basically takes in very little revenue, so it is very difficult for us to meet those outlays. We have several sizeable judgments that we still have to deal with. All of these judgments were judgments that were brought on the council before I became mayor, but we still have to ensure that we are paying them off.”

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