Sammy: Garbage pile-up cleaned by tomorrow
By NEWSDAY REPORTER Saturday, December 29 2012
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THE PILE-UP IS STILL PRESENT: Garbage pile-up on Haig Street, Carenage....
Every district for which the Diego Martin Corporation is responsible, which had a garbage pile-up due to the Christmas season, will be cleaned up by tomorrow, assured Alderman Anthony Sammy, Chairman of the corporation.
The garbage pile-up in La Puerta, Diego Martin, which was completely cleaned Thursday afternoon, was not the only area that had major garbage problems, said Hollister Thompson, public health officer for the corporation.
He said streets in the Carenage district, including Haig and Scorpion Streets were also under a garbage pile-up because the contractor, BK Holdings, refused to clear the bins.
Norma Edwards, a resident of Haig Street told Newsday bins placed in front of her home were causing a rat infestation in her yard, and a foul scent which prevented her from opening her windows.
She added that persons from outside of the area would come and dump their old furniture and other garbage in and around the bins, further adding to the problem.
Yesterday, the bins were overflowing with huge garbage bags, old mattresses, television sets, chairs, tyres, and other old metal objects.
“For years we have been speaking with the public health officer, who constantly said that they were still looking for an area away from residents homes to place the bins.
This issue needs to be dealt with because it has been going on for too long,” Edwards said.
Sammy explained that he was currently assessing the contract agreement made with BK Holdings to see what necessary measures can be taken.
“BK Holdings did not perform their duties in a timely manner, and when I contacted the company, they came on Thursday and cleaned up some of the areas. We are now using some of the corporations’ equipment, as well as small contractors to clean up all the affected areas including Haig Street,” Sammy told Newsday.
Sammy noted that the councillors were instructed this year to use small contractors for the different districts to clean up the excess garbage for the Christmas season, but some of the councillors were unable to get contractors, which also led to the garbage pile-up.
The corporation would usually pay BK Holdings extra money to do three extra days of work to deal with the overflow of garbage for Christmas, but Sammy stated it was never effectively done.
Sammy said they were having problems with BK Holdings for the past few years, pointing out that they would clean the top half of the large bins, and not completely empty them.
Port-of-Spain city corporation, was also contacted by Sammy to assist in the speedy clean-up process.
Port-of-Spain Mayor, Louis Lee Sing told Newsday in a telephone interview that they are assisting Diego Martin by supplying additional equipment and manpower to clear the garbage.
BK Holdings was once the contractor in charge of clearing garbage in the districts under the Port-of-Spain corporation. However, Lee Sing said that they ended the contract with them earlier this year.
“We relieved Port-of-Spain of all the large bins that were placed outside people’s home because it was a health and safety issue.
As such, we appointed a number of small contractors in the different districts to pick up the garbage of each resident in those districts, to eliminate the use of those bins,” Lee Sing said. He added that using this small contractor system will allow residents to have greater access to communicate with their respective contractor, and they would not have to worry about loads of garbage being placed in front of their homes.
When Local Government Minister, Surujrattan Rambachan was contacted about the issue, he stated that the small contractor system used by Port-of-Spain corporation needs to be assessed along with the Diego Martin corporation, because it is not “totally effective.”
“That system seems to be providing work for small contractors, but it also has to be an efficient system.
“The corporations did not put a proper contingency plan for this season in place because I saw huge piles of garbage on the streets of Port-of-Spain after Christmas.
“It is not that the large contractor system was not working, but that there was poor supervision of these contractors,” Rambachan told Newsday.
He stated that he intends to make sure every corporation deals with the garbage issue, and the launch of a survey in the different districts across the country will be done next year to get feedback on the efficiencies of the garbage collection system.