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Friday 22 February 2019
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War of words over garbage

Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC) chairman Gowrie Roopnarine has challenged San Fernando East MP Randall Mitchell to produce any evidence to support his (Mitchell’s) claims that the corporation and not SWMCOL is responsible for scavenging duties.

The war of words between both men escalated over the weekend after Mitchell issued a media statement which described an earlier statement by Roopnarine that the corporation is not responsible for the “contractual arrangements of the scavenging contractors” and which has led to a garbage pile up in certain areas of the sprawling region.

In his statement, Mitchell said, “Not only is the statement inaccurate, but it is also representative of the failure of the Princes Town Regional Corporation, both administratively and operationally, in adequately addressing this grave public health issue affecting their burgesses, particularly those who reside within the San Fernando East Constituency.”

Mitchell said municipal corporations have a “statutory duty” under the Public Health Ordinance and the Municipal Corporations Act for waste management, which includes the “collection and disposal of waste within their municipalities.”

“Each municipal corporation, including the Princes Town Regional Corporation has the sole responsibility for the administration of waste collection contracts – whether month-to-month or two month-to-two month regardless of the period – and, for the day to day management of the contractors engaged for this purpose, which includes the monitoring of contractor performance and the processing and disbursement of payments to these contractors on a monthly basis.”

However Roopnarine dismissed that claim saying this responsibility is with SWMCOL and not the corporation.

“I challenge him to bring the evidence that he have that SWMCOL not responsible and it is the regional corporation. The regional corporation does not award contracts for scavenging, it was never in the past, SWMCOL is responsible, what we do is we supervise the contractors. An allocation is given to the corporation to pay the contractors, if a contractor doesn’t work we will have to record and send it back to SWMCOL based on that contractor’s performance and up to now SWMCOL has not dealt with this matter.”

“We cannot give a contractor a contract, what we could do is let’s say a contractor truck break down or something like that, the corporation has the power to bring in a contractor for a day or two. We do not have the powers to remove a contractor or bring them in, that is the responsibility of SWMCOL.”

“It is sad that a Member of Parliament would use this to look for political gain. At this time the Princes Town constituency, the Naparima constituency are facing the same issues.”

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