Garbage piles up in Georgetown, Guyana

President Donald Ramotar.
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, Patricia Chase-Green called on Donald Ramotar stating – “as president of this country, who has an office, and residence in Georgetown, I call on you to use your influence to end the garbage stalemate that threatens the health of our citizens.”

Acknowledging that the City of Georgetown is in a crisis situation due to the garbage that continues to pile up while councilors bicker over who should clean up the mess, Chase-Green said – “I will do everything in my power to ensure the garbage is cleared away to welcome overseas Guyanese for the holiday season.

During a recent exclusive interview with Caribbean Life after a City Hall staff member was seen dumping garbage next to a clearly marked receptacle on the grounds of the municipality, Chase-Green lay the blame squarely on Town Clerk Carol Sooba, whom she said terminated the private contractor without first discussing ways to effectively deal with the situation.

The councilmember blamed Sooba for what she called her lack of commonsense for terminating the services of a private contractor hired to clean up the city, and outside of Stabroek and Boruda markets.

“I said to her, how could we evaluate holding back cash allocated to pay a contractor to remove the accumulated garbage that could eventually create a health crisis and possibly the deaths of children.

‘City Hall is presently not capable of removing the amount of garbage that is accumulated, said Chase-Green, a nurse by profession, who expressed frustration and concern that the approaching rainy season would clearly prevent garbage collection. The Christmas holidays she added would also bring added solid waste thrown out by citizens in preparation for the festive season.

She specifically named Mr. Forsyth, owner of Invro-Tech recycling, who was approved by the city council to clean up the environment, but again she blames the year-long hold up on the town clerk, who is yet to approved the contract.

The politician says she hopes that commonsense prevails and the Town Clerk sees it necessary to release funds to contract a private company, or seek the help of the government.

“Citizens dump their garbage and they expect the council to pick it up because the government has a ‘pick it up” campaign. However, she said the government that is spending millions of dollars on a campaign that should instead say “Don’t drop it,” is not picking up the garbage effectively.

“One agency is trying to tell citizens not to dump and the other is saying. I am here to pick it up.”

Education and health programs were also put in place by the City Council to bring about environmental protection awareness, added the councilor. The health sector she said has been doing their part, “but as I said, at present, because the Town Clerk would have terminated the services of the contractor, the burden lie with City Hall that has only two trucks and a tractor-trailer to clean up six communities, and the market area daily.

“I have started by bringing the situation to the attention of the council that we are heading for a crisis situation and we need to address it now. I called on four members of the public health market committee and the finance committee that is tasked with disbursing cash to pay contractors to clear away the garbage, said the politician.

In the meantime, a recent article in the Guyana Chronicle stated that Carol Sooba pointed out at Monday’s (Oct. 25,) statutory meeting at City Hall that immediate action is needed to tackle the mountains of garbage, which continue to pile-up in the city whilst the mayor and his councilors continue to blame the lack of equipment and manpower for uncontrollable solid waste issues in Georgetown.

The article continued that Sooba advised Mayor Hamilton Green not to speculate on what her role and functions are. Being in charge of the statutory meeting, Mayor Green allowed Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to openly “shout” at the town clerk, which Soboba deemed as unfit and described as “verbal abuse.”

“Councilors who vouched for the town clerk were silenced as the verbal exchange began when one councilor lauded the work of Ms Sooba, stating that the city has been cleaner and more organized than had obtained in years.

On the other hand, Walter Narine, director of Solid Waste at City Hall, stated that the lack of equipment in the council is indeed a hindrance to garbage collection in the city because the trucks and backhoe are always in the workshop for repairs.

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