US$1M loan for Georgetown waste management

By Wendella Davidson
Guyana Chronicle
May 25, 2000

THE disposal of solid waste at the Mandela Avenue site and in the City is to be significantly improved and made environmentally safer.

Also, citizens are to be sensitised through intensive public awareness and cleansing campaigns on proper waste disposal habits and methods for keeping the environment clean.

This is made possible through the signing of a US$1M Technical Cooperation Loan Agreement yesterday, between the Guyana of Government and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

At the simple ceremony held in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Finance, Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Mr Saisnarine Kowlessar and IDB representative, Mr Robert Kestell, affixed their signatures on behalf of the Government of Guyana and IDB to formalise the agreement.

The IDB will provide the equivalent of US$900,000 and the Government of Guyana, through the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), the executing agency, the equivalent of the remaining US$100,000.

According to Minister Kowlessar, the project aims at supporting the Government's effort to improve the health and sanitary conditions of the residents of Georgetown. This will be achieved through an improved and environmentally safer disposal of solid waste at the Mandela Avenue site. The project will be supported by public awareness campaigns.

To this end, the project will have two major components - new works and improved management of the Mandela Avenue site and public awareness and cleansing campaigns.

Minister Kowlessar added that a project-implementing unit will be within the Municipal Cleansing Department and that an engineering consultant will be contracted to supervise the construction of works and other related facilities at the Mandela site.

In addition, a steering committee to be established will have responsibility for policy decisions, coordinating the project and overseeing the day-to-day operations.

The six-member committee will comprise representatives from the Ministry of Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Finance, the M&CC, the Private sector and the local community, Minister Kowlessar added.

Mr Kestell noted that the project, which had been in the pipeline for some time, has become reality.

He said that within the next two months, workshops will be convened to familiarise stakeholders with privatisation efforts in solid waste and regarding the BOT (Build, operate and transfer) type of operations.

The IDB official expressed the hope that representatives from industries with knowledge of the BOT operations will be available to share their experiences.

Kestell said that the completion of this project will be followed by the final solution to the pollution problem - that of replacing the Mandela site.

Deputy Mayor, Mr Robert Williams, representing the Mayor and City Council, said the M&CC is "much relieved" at reaching that stage of the project.

Noting that the citizens of Georgetown will also be overjoyed at the good news, he called on the media to assist in the other major task - that of sensitising residents of the City.

He, too, expressed thanks to the IDB for the assistance.

Mr Clinton Collymore, Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, which is responsible for the Municipalities, described the signing of the agreement as an historic one.

Like the Deputy Mayor, Collymore welcomed the project stating that it will seek to address a sanitation crisis procedure in the City.

He expressed confidence that there will be a smooth disbursement of the loan and that no hiccups will surface between the Ministry and the M&CC.

Minister Collymore revealed that the project precedes a permanent landfill site to be established utilising some 320 acres of abandoned canefields aback of Grove, East Bank Demerara.

That site will be ready for use as soon as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is completed.

Minister of Local Government, Mr Harripersaud Nokta said that both the Central Government and the Ministry will do all in their power to help promote the project since garbage disposal is very important.

He noted that within a few days, officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and the M&CC will meet to concretise the financial contract for the disbursement of the first tranche of the loan.

Also present at the signing ceremony yesterday were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Phulandar Kandhi; Mr Clyde Roopchand of the Ministry of Finance; Mr Gordon Lewis of the IDB; and Ms Gwen McGowan and Mr Llewllyn John, City Councillors.

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