Competent management structure needed to address city’s garbage problem


IT has always been my contention that the problems we face, whether these, in the case of the city of Georgetown, are evident through the omnipresent accumulation of garbage on street reserves, long waiting times to be served or shoddy road construction can be traced to inept management. Another example supporting this contention recently surfaced in your December 19, 2013 edition under the caption “269 fined for littering, illegal dumping for 2013.”

In that article stemming from an interview with Clean and Green Guyana/Guyenterprise, the Chief Constable of the City, Mr. Andrew Foo, disclosed that there were 269 citations issued for littering/dumping in 2013 given a total complement of 170 ranks and a programme of aggressive attention to the problem. This amounts to an average of 1.6 citations per year per rank.
I find this statistic to be amazing, especially when dumping is so prevalent – just today I saw a car stop on Sherriff Street at the junction with Mandela Avenue and its occupant throw two black bags of garbage onto the reserve. But instead of dealing with the low productivity of its ranks, we have the clarion call for more ranks.
One very effective management tool of dealing with low productivity for ranks whose contributions can be quantitatively measured is to implement a compensation package which places part at risk for performance – a base salary plus a bonus for achieving objectives set. For example, ranks would have a goal of issuing a certain number of citations monthly. Issuing less will bring about a reprimand; issuing more a bonus. Promotions would be predicated solely on performance and training.
There is a lot of attention being given to the garbage problem in the city these days. Most of the attention seems to focus on removing the garbage after it has been illegally dumped and not that much on law enforcement. The two have to complement each other. A rigorous enforcement approach will change the culture of littering/dumping through penalties and a high chance of being cited. But before we can get there, we need to ensure that a competent management structure is in place.