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Nov 23, 2010

City Hall Garbage debt piling up and workers protest

Earlier we told you about the temporary solution in the sugar industry, but in Belize City there is no solution in sight to the latest garbage problem.  Belize Waste Control is out of pocket for four months of services that the Belize City Council has been unable to pay. The uncollected garbage is piling up everywhere and BWC employees vented their frustration at City Hall this morning. It is not the first time City Hall has been delinquent in payments and BWC says it will not be providing services until it receives payment. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Across the Old Capital today streets were littered with heaps of garbage bags set out for collection by Belize Waste Control personnel.  It is day two of the business week and the scheduled pick up of refuse on the city’s South Side has been aborted indefinitely.  Instead, of the almost one hundred employees hired by this sanitation company, a handful has chosen to take to the streets for a different cause.  They are picketing City Hall, the center of administration for the municipal government.  Since the end of August the Belize City Council has accrued a debt of a half million dollars to BWC.  These men are on the receiving end of a severe cash flow problem.

michael neal

Michael Neal, Employee, Belize Waste Control

“For the last four years we’ve been having this problem with money.  Christmas di come up [and] we have to feed wi family.  If dehn noh pay wi boss we won’t have no work [and] the city will be dirty.  Please Mr. Tillett pay wi boss the money so we can keep the city clean.”

For the past three months employees have been paid from their boss’ coffers.  That money has since dwindled and they have now joined the company’s management in demanding that CitCo pays its debt to them.  This morning a meeting was held between City Council’s financial controller Patrick Tillett and Waste Control’s executives that ended in a standoff.

George Lamb, Manager, Belize Waste Control

george lamb

“Mr. Tillett at this point is unable to make a commitment [uhm] for payment so there will be a follow-up meeting this afternoon but we’re still in the same position.  [Uhm] we have not been paid for twelve weeks and the council is unable to say exactly when payment will be made.”

It is a situation that is reminiscent of a similar crisis CitCo found itself in last year when it could not meet its payments to Belize Maintenance Limited.  Unfortunately, this state of affairs also comes at a time when money is needed most.

kendon harvey

Kendon Harvey, Employee, Belize Waste Control

“We are fed up of this.  The Christmas is coming.  We don’t have any ham or turkey to put on our table; moreover we don’t have bread to put on our table for this week.  That’s all I have to say to these people.  We need our money!   Please pay us!”

For the company however, receiving its weekly disbursement of some forty-two thousand dollars makes it a bit easier to run an operation that, for the most part, is a costly endeavor.  Fueling this three thousand gallon tank for instance costs an average of thirty thousand dollars not to mention the cost of maintaining its fleet of vehicles.

George Lamb

“What we are going to do we are going to work with what we got.  Whatever limited resource we have until that runs out we will continue.”

BWC is already operating on a skeleton staff and it is only a matter of time before garbage in the streets accumulates and becomes a bigger problem for the Belize City Council.

George Lamb

“We need some money.  The company is out of money right now and we need to make payments to our creditors.  We don’t have any money to operate.  The service is an essential service.  In order for us to continue to provide waste management services in Belize City we need to be paid.”

Reiterating that point on an individual note is Samuel Matura.  Despite having found lawful employment he also finds himself back at square one.

samuel matura

Samuel Matura, Employee, Belize Waste Control

“The society people say ‘yo deh pan di street, yo di thief, yo di rob, yo di dis.’  Yo get wah legal job, wah honest job, now da just like yoh noh have a job.  Weh use have wah job and [deh] outta wah job?  Weh yo mek outta it, nothing right?  We need fih collect.  We done work bredrin.”

The relationship between CitCo and its contractors has for some time been a strained affair with the often cash strapped administration failing to meet or prioritize its obligations.

George Lamb

“I don’t know how they handle their finance this side but they were able to pay us and I believe that they are able to do it now if they choose to but that’s a decision that Mr. Tillett at Belize City Council has to make.”

…And until that decision is made garbage trucks will remain put at the BWC compound near mile three, their drivers in the picket line and garbage accumulating in the city streets. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Another round of protests is scheduled for Wednesday as the garbage continues to accumulate at residences and businesses.

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10 Responses for “City Hall Garbage debt piling up and workers protest”

  1. rootsman says:

    Maybe if they stop stealing the money they will have it to pay the contractors, now Mr. Barrow this is the ideal candidate for a takeover since the city council cannot properly run it’s affairs you should pronounce them insolvent and have central government take over the operations and impeach the mayor for dereliction of duties, of course you will not be effective at pulling this off if they have dirt on you.

  2. Recovering Crack Head says:

    I need a job. fu 2 dolla I dump yu garbage front a City Hall!!!!!!!!!! mek Zenaida get di sense.

  3. ivan cal says:

    ‘ZENAIDA MOYA,DEAN BARROW GOV’T- are the same !@$$ they are there only fi collect their millions of $$$$$ not to work for the people…..like doug sigh said in the news the work of the UDP is only to win elections….now we see its true, seee zenaida moya’s mansion she build with what money of course the TAX payer’s money….she doesn’t tink fi d people once she got thats it,but still no have the hipocricy si say ” I di work fi d people!!!!! hmm “..moya promised the city residents to vote UDP -that A UDP central government would do better now its gotten worst…unemployment is high, GST gone up by 12.5% more {25% total now} ..about 45% of our country are pooorer, crime situation is out of control, the PM promised that he would not make the fuel price surpass the $7.00 limit and by now its gone higher and continues to go up, CORRUPTION is out of control in all GOB departments…its gotten worst..,’THE PM promised to bring DOWN the cost of living no ‘MATTA WAT”…HMM when will that come?

  4. belizeanpride says:

    the same thing is happening in santa elena, our neighbour hood burns the garbage since the garbage truck passes once every two weeks and the street dogs tear up the bags so what else do we have to do, burn it. even do it’s annoying due to the smoke but the neighbours are getting use to it also. it’s better smoke for a while than the stench and the garbage thrown around by stray dogs. things like these are really important in a city and town, healthy issues, but we’re lacking of them due to mismanagement of funds.

  5. lena gial says:

    my loving belizeans things will never get better for us we only mek noise we dont act dats y Goverment take us fu fools,not only we starving but they killing us with other things but the media mek no sense they never mention our concerns,I want them to challenge and call any vegetable importer and ask dem how much they pay on a weekly basis to Belize Marketing &Development Corporation. the poor importers have to go all the way to Chetumal spent an over nite bring their products but before they get a permit they must have to pay BMDC 5 ct per pound of potatoes,carrots,cabbage.its an out right thief stealing from the poor people BMDC dont even move a pin and get so much money y must they pay,minister Montero son owns BMDC he have built a mansion in 2 years his father serves as minister.Zeniada Moya Flowers dj husband they own a mansion yet the poor people dat pick up garbage cant get pay.what a corruption PM where r u

  6. CHICAGORILLA says:

    Pay the workers their money, or else…………

  7. besu says:

    why the no do it like corozal have two company make town Council have it own and next company

  8. besu says:

    like every one know town council pass one time a month next company u pay but that every week no mater wat that the pass…………………..

  9. Earl Grey says:

    Mayor Moya used to COMPLAIN THAT PUP/MUSA GAVE HER NO MONEY…………..
    WHAT’S HER EXCUSE NOW?????????????

    We should PUT GARBAGE COLLECTION BACK INTO THE HANDS OF THE CITY, and get KOLBE RESIDENTS to clean the garbage for FREE. They need to earn their keep.

  10. Kay says:

    Earl Grey I couldn’t say a thing more than what you said. Let the bastards earn their keep. If taxpayers money have to feed them let them earn that right to be taken care of.

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