By Abiola Archer
Less than three months after the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development spent millions of dollars to clear the Kara Kara dumpsite that was overflowing with solid waste, which was hampering the town of Linden’s tourism potential, the garbage situation at the site is 75 percent back to the way it was. Deputy Mayor Wainwright Bethune, said the situation will keep recurring if a long term solution is not provided to tackle the issue. He is calling on the government to intervene and provide the needed help to the cash strapped council, to ensure the site is maintained on schedule as is done with any other waste disposal sites across the world.
“The council is asking for intervention from the government because the maintenance of the dumpsite is a multi-million-dollar activity alone, secondly if you recognise the township for the past couple of months, the council is unable to pick up garbage from the residents and the township because all of the equipment has mechanical problems,” Bethune said. He said the council is not looking for handouts but for empowerment to not only manage the dumpsite but the entire garbage situation in Linden. To maintain the dumpsite, he said it will cost the council about $45 million per year. From time to time, LM&TC asks for the assistance from privately owned companies like Cevon’s Waste Management and Bosai Mineral Group Guyana Inc. (BOSAI) but cannot guarantee their assistance at all times.
He said a better solution would be for the government, that has been touting a national clean-up campaign, to provide the machinery and funding for human resource to tackle the situation on a scheduled basis. “Dumpsites generally have a maintenance schedule, the midterm solution would be to allocate funding to sustain maintenance of a dumpsite which requires the employ of machinery to consistently push the dumpsite and the manpower to carry out the operation of the site and the access road,” Bethune said in a recent exclusive interview with INFO 10.
Even if the government intervenes and provides the needed assistance for the management of the dumpsite, he said what the council needs and should not be limited to the LMTC, is constitutional reform for local organs to give them power to generate income in a more viable way. Currently the council is earning less than 30 percent of its operational cost and has over $200 M in debts. The council receives income from rates and taxes which is below $1200.00 per year for residence, market and parking dues, the toll booth and a percentage of the revenue generated from the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge. “Give the council its true financial autonomy and to let the council get the financial liberation then do the constitutional reform, give the municipalities an evaluation of properties so that the true rates and taxes can be implemented so that the operational cost and revenues of the council can at least break even, right now council is operating at 30 percent of the operational cost,” he argued.
Relative to a long term solution to the garbage situation, the council is currently holding discussions with the Guyana Lands and Survey Commission to identify a plot of land to be used as a landfill site.