Privatising garbage collection unaffordable, unsustainable

Dear Editor,
Well, news coming out of City Hall reveals that the folks there have had an epiphany. Finally, after more than two decades, and billions of dollars later, they have realized that privatizing the process of garbage collection — a municipal function — is unaffordable and unsustainable. What a moment of sudden inspiration, revelation, and recognition by the fabulous four.
For decades, if not centuries, the municipality collected all of the garbage in our capital themselves, starting with animal drawn carts and progressing all the way to modern compactors. It was the most cost effective and efficient way of providing this service. Georgetown was immaculate, and there were no avenues for municipal officials to benefit from inducements that could be offered by contractors.
But suddenly, just like the toilet rentals, we heard from municipal officials that it was more feasible to contract out refuse collection rather than do it themselves. How preposterous! And so the general rates of Georgetown have been literally and figuratively thrashed over the years.
Now, in a remarkable pivot, we hear that the Council will be seeking to boost their capacity to better deliver the service themselves, and that a team has been set up to look at all the details of their new plan — to have their own garbage trucks, even if they start with one or two come 2018.
Are they serious? One or two garbage trucks to clean the city? What has happened to the numerous garbage trucks they had, including the many that were donated to them by the Government? And will the team looking into this plan investigate why the Council just recently sold approximately one dozen garbage trucks and allied equipment they had — some in working order — to the garbage contractors dirt cheap if the plan is to provide the service themselves?
Then the Mayor was reported to have said that several things would have to be put in place before this could happen, including the M&CC having their own workshop and employees to maintain the vehicles. Is this lady unaware that the Council have had their own workshop almost fifty years now? Is she oblivious to the fact that the workshop has a considerable staff that is paid by the Council each month?
But the biggest question to be answered is: Why were the two prominent garbage contractors starved of payment for two years, causing the outstanding balance to run up to more than three hundred million dollars? And why were the other contractors, who are their friends and who never went through a tender procedure, not subjected to the same privation, but instead are paid up to date for weeding parapets, clearing drains, and building bridges etc?
Public office is supposed to be a public trust. Over the years, there have been clear signs that rampant corruption exists at the highest levels of the Georgetown Municipality. Corruption is the enemy of development and of good governance. It must be gotten rid of. Both the municipality and the citizens of our capital must come together to achieve this national objective.

Mateo Phelepe