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Oct 29, 2013

17 weeks and no payment by City Hall says Belize Maintenance Limited

Lawrence Ellis

The Belize City Council has not paid Belize Maintenance Limited for sixteen weeks. BML is responsible for a large portion of the city’s cleaning needs…from the pruning of trees and cutting of grass to the maintenance of drains and recovery of litter and debris. The City pays seventy-eight thousand dollars a week for those services, and Mayor Darrell Bradley says it is unsustainable. In fact, Bradley says that when BML’s contract comes to an end in January 2015, he won’t renew it. That news came as a surprise to BML owner Lawrence Ellis, who told News Five today that he was in the middle of negotiating a new contract with Bradley. He says that the Mayor is using BML as a whipping horse to excuse what amounts to mismanagement of the Council’s finances.

 

Lawrence Ellis, Owner, BML

“First I was very surprised. I thought that the mayor and I had discussed and we had come up to an agreement that we were going to reduce the contract; reduced the scope of works. We had several meetings where we had discussed that. There was a draft contract drawn up, was vetted by Councilor Alifa Elrington and for the past four months I have been trying to see the mayor for us to move forward. So when I heard he was on the TV saying that he will not renew I was caught completely off guard; completely surprised. Presently BML has two contracts. One that B.M.L. originally had for twenty-eight thousand dollars a week and the other that we bought from S.E.L. for forty-two thousand dollars a week and a written agreement from the council for eight thousand dollars a week for the removal of hotspots and barks. To go back, in 2006 when the council won, the campaign was to either cancel the contracts or cut them in half. They couldn’t cancel them so they reduced the contracts in a both contracts. It was a take it or leave it deal at that time. This is what we can afford; you either take it or leave it. and then they draft up the terms and the scope of this contract. This was not a contract drawn up by the previous council; this is a contract draft up in 2006. At that time, the council even went as far as to write to our lending institution ensuring them that—even though they know we had commitments for that amount at that contract before—assuring them that this is what the council can afford and these people will get paid every week and so we can move forward with that. So now to say that the council cannot afford it is a complete reverse. Whenever the council runs itself into financial problems, they use BML as a whipping horse because they throw out these exorbitant figures and say that the council cannot afford it. It is not BML’s fault that the council does financial stuff that causes them to be in problem. They have commitment to us and they have to be obligated to them.”

 

Ellis says that his company has been unable to get any response from the Council on when payment will be forthcoming. If that continues, at some point he will be forced to just bring services to a stop. As to the Mayor’s suggestion that residents will take up the slack when BML’s contract is not renewed, Ellis says that is ludicrous considering the scope of services offered by his company.

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1 Response for “17 weeks and no payment by City Hall says Belize Maintenance Limited”

  1. Teacher says:

    Just in case anyone would be curios to know: Spanish Lookout as a Community doesn’t have any ‘garbage collection’ budget – very minute if any, and is acclaimed by many to be one of the cleanest places in Belize. Does that tell you anything??

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