Last week Thursday, the management of the Fort Street Tourism Village sent a curt email to its tenants saying abruptly: "the Fort Street Tourism Village is no longer working with the Belize Waste Control." That's after FSTV management told Waste Control not to come back into the village, and to remove their containers. Tenants were told that if they wanted to get rid of their garbage, they would have to do so themselves. That's after a blow-up between FSTV and Waste Control - one that got pretty heated from what we are told. Well today, it seems saner heads prevailed as both sides had in a cordial meeting. But, they still had one big issue: who's going to pay for the 330 cubic yards of garbage generated at the village every month? Waste control says the garbage load far exceeds what the village is paying for - and BWC claims it is losing major revenue every month.

Today we spoke to Phillip Willoughby who acted as a mediator:..

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"We came up with a remedy to remedy this impasse between FSTV, the tenants and Belize Waste Control Limited."

Jules Vasquez
"Now one week ago you were basically driven from in here. Today you went in here for meetings. Would you say that there's been any type of breakthrough?"

George Lamb, Manager, Belize Waste Control
"Yes City Council, by way of contract, in an arbitrator between waste control and any customers that may have grievances. Under the guidance of city councilors, their representatives, we're able to strike a reasonable compromise. All I do know is that they will be obligated to us for the garbage they consider theirs, they will pay us directly. The impression that I am getting from Mr. Allard is that he will be encouraging the customers, the different entities operating here to sign up with Belize Waste Control in order for their waste to be moved."

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"What drove Belize Waste Control to come to this impasse was that there were vendors within the village who wanted to dump their waste but they didn't want to pay the cost. That was what caused the impasse."

George Lamb, Manager, Belize Waste Control
"All the waste generated in this facility should be removed by Belize Waste Control and none other. We are being regulated by the public health, the Ministry of Environment is watching us closely and also Belize City Council, so we must comply with local health standards in doing so. To have others removing the waste and discarding of it those types of waste indiscriminately is not only illegal but it's not good for our environment."

Jules Vasquez
"Now, for these people it'll be one more cost. They already have rent to pay, right now we're going into the low season and having a contract with Belize Waste Control myself, you have to pay a little bit of change every month."

George Lamb, Manager, Belize Waste Control
"Well I agree that there is a cost for service but I think it's a cost of doing business in Belize and even more so in the tourist village. We must maintain a certain standard; we cannot say 'well I cannot be responsible for my garbage because I cannot afford it'."

Jules Vasquez
"With someone will have to bear an additional cost?"

Phillip Willoughby, City Councilor
"No there's no one who will bear an additional cost. The persons who will have access to the bins now, only they will have access. There won't be any other business from within the tourist village who will have access who are not paying for the services. So there was just free riding on the good conscience of the vendors/tenants in there who wanted to abide by the law."

Tenants have the option of disposing of their own garbage - but they have to meet minimum standards.

Channel 7


Garbage Collection to Resume at Fort Street Tourism Village

George Lamb

According to General Manager George Lamb, BWC was in the process of ironing out the details of a new arrangement with FSTV.  He told News Five that services would have resumed at the village by the end of the day.

George Lamb, General Manager, BWC

“Well I believe the discussion was fruitful.  What is my concern though that FSTV and the vendors here be willing to pay for the service.  That has always been our contention.  We understand that waste management and garbage collection is an essential service and we must provide this service on a timely basis.  We do believe though that somebody must bear the responsibility to pay for the waste and that‘s what the meeting was generally all about.  But I believe that we have covered a lot of basis and it‘s fruitful enough for us to move forward.”

Isani Cayetano

“Last week you mentioned that you guys had effectively pulled out of FSTV, when do you intend to return in full force?”

George Lamb

“Well we did that last week because of a misunderstanding and poor communication between us and FSTV and I wouldn‘t want to conclude as to whose part that‘s neither here nor there.  If we, I would be sitting with our management team and if it‘s favorable to them then we hopefully want to reinstall the service later today.”

This afternoon’s meeting was attending by several officials from the Belize City Council, including its sanitation manager and legal advisor.

Channel 5