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Aug 29, 2006

Belize CitCo to rewrite sanitation contracts

Story PictureThe contract controversy between the Belize City Council and its sanitation crews dominated the headlines earlier this month after the municipality failed to meet its financial obligations to the three companies involved. City cleanup and garbage collection have ground to a stinking halt, but tonight the council says it has finally reached a compromise that should smell a whole lot better.

Laura Esquivel, City Councillor, Belize City Council
?Belize Waste Control has a contract with the City Council to pick up residential and commercial garbage. That is all that they are responsible for. The S.E.L. and B.M.L. are responsible for the sweeping of the streets, cutting of the grass, the cleaning out of existing drains and that sort of thing, so they are very different. The Council so far has had meetings with all three contractors. So far we have reached an amicable way forward with Belize Waste Control and as of last Friday, they should have been back on the streets picking up residential and commercial garbage. This will continue with that. Regarding S.E.L. and B.M.L., we recently had meetings with them on Monday. And what has been put forward is that we have presented them with a figure of what the council is prepared to pay, what we can pay, what we are able to pay and they have been tasked now with putting forward proposals to the City Council as to what services they will provide to the council and to the residents of the city for that amount of money. In a way that will be beneficial to the residents of the city. So we hope to have the whole issue wrapped up by the end of this week.?

Janelle Chanona
?That would be a short term solution or long term??

Laura Esquivel
?It would be a long term. We would go back to a resolution and pass a new resolution in our council for the new stipulations of all of these contracts. All of these will be writing so in essence we are looking at probably new contracts if that is what to come up with.?

Janelle Chanona
?What is the message right now to residents who maybe are seeing their trash out in front of their houses for the past two weeks??

Laura Esquivel
?We really apologize to residents of the city. We have been doing our best to pay the contractors what is in the contract, but it really was unsustainable. And unfortunately it had to come to something like this for these contractors to come to the table and negotiate and talk to us.?

Esquivel says partnership initiatives with members of the business community have enabled the council to undertake beautification projects throughout the city.

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