By Aaron Humes Freelance Reporter
BELIZE CITY, Tues. Apr. 15, 2014
Sanitation company Belize Waste Control Limited has agreed to end its litigation against the Belize City Council, and the two sides will now sit down to work out their differences.
On Tuesday morning before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, attorneys for the company elected not to file the statement of facts and issues asked for by the court at a previous case management conference called last week.
They indicated that they would be prepared to sit down with the Council to discuss points of differences between them, including arrears payable on the contract and enforcement of certain of its section.
Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley, told reporters that a consent order was made by the Chief Justice and agreed to by both parties. In that order, the company agreed that they were satisfied that arrears owed, now down to two weeks behind schedule from a high of 15 in December, are clear.
The company will also receive $10,000 which had been deducted by the Council when the company had gone on strike because they were not being paid.
Bradley said that now that they are out of court, the Council is prepared to discuss what Bradley called “serious and substantial issues” with regard to the contract, including its exclusivity and the issue of recycling.
Regarding the arrears, Bradley said he was confident that the Council can maintain its current position through at least August of this year because it is “tax season” – when the Council collects most of its property taxes and trade and liquor license monies.
But he said that he also expects that, as happens every year, the Council will fall behind again after August, but only up to December when the Council once again goes into tax season.
Bradley stated, “This is a situation that happens every single year; it is sad that we have to be in litigation, but we maintain that the City Council is a responsible entity, we pay our debts.”
He added that the Council insists – and the company has apparently agreed – that City Hall is within the terms of the contract, which Bradley says allows a one-month lag in payments.
Bradley has previously expressed the view that the City’s contracts with BWC and Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) are too much of a burden, taking forty cents out of every dollar of revenue between them. The BML contract expires next year.