BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 13, 2021– An impasse between the Belize Waste Control and the Belize City Council over unpaid arrears to the tune of 1.3 million dollars has left the city riddled with uncollected garbage over the past two weeks.
While the Councillor responsible for Sanitation, Micah Goodin, says that the relationship between CITCO and the BWC is still a cordial and symbiotic one, the shortfall of revenue brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the council to fall far behind its committed weekly payments to the garbage collection company.
“The relationship between the Belize City Council and the principals of the Belize Waste Control is not of an adversarial nature. Our relationship is symbiotic; there is mutual respect and there has been a great deal of empathy by Waste Control. However, as a result of challenges of Covid-19, our collection of outstanding finances has been sub-par,” Goodin said.
And Belize Waste Control has since run out of empathy — taking a number of their garbage trucks off the streets and out of circulation and reducing the collection force in Belize City, which has left in its wake a very dirty old capital. Employees from CITCO have had to since double down on their efforts to mitigate the impact of the non-collection of garbage in Belize City.
However, Councillor Goodin said that there may be some resolution to this issue in the short term, since the Ministry of Finance has since made a financial commitment to CITCO to resolve the situation.
“We’ve received positive news from the Ministry of Finance. There is cause for great optimism; they have made a commitment to us, a financial commitment; however, we are in the process of having that commitment translated,” Goodin said.
As mentioned, CITCO, at this time, owes BWC 1.3 million dollars for upwards of 20 weeks of non-payment for the collection of waste within Belize City. This is almost $66,000 plus GST weekly.
Councillor Goodin said that they may need to cover at least 10 weeks or half of the current arrears to start to mend working relations with the company and is hopeful that the central government will offer the necessary relief. The exact amount that GOB committed to providing was not stated.
“In the interim, while we wait for that commitment to be translated, we are still providing complementary service in terms of additional machinery and in terms of the deployment of additional workmen,” Councillor Goodin said.
He said that it is very hard for a council that has a limited stream of revenue to keep up with the expenses of running that city, and reiterated the possibility of a garbage fee that would be considered to offset the payments that must be made to Belize Waste Control, but said that such a fee would not be introduced before there is dialogue with Belize City residents.