New ticketing system for litter bugs soon

Town Clerk Royston King with a draft copy of the proposed littering by-laws. (Telesha Ramnarine photo)

…M&CC also looking to ‘name and shame’

BY the end of October, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) wants to have a ticketing system in place against litter bugs which will attract fines ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, with imprisonment as the consequence of a failure to pay.

Town Clerk Royston King on Tuesday made the announcement at a press conference he called to speak on solid waste management in the city. He said there is a very high level of indiscipline, especially in the business community, regarding littering in Georgetown and hence the new initiative. “Areas freshly cleaned, if you go back right now, you will see those areas littered all over again. People are littering with gay abundance [sic] except if you put in place stiffer fines, sanctions, and the ticketing system,” King stated.

He held up a draft copy of a by-law that he intends to send to the Council and to Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan for approval of the ticketing system. “This would allow people caught littering to pay a fine to the Council directly, and almost immediately, so that you don’t have to go through the court system.”

He further explained that the new system will accomplish many positives, including providing the Council with resources to manage the city’s waste and working as a deterrent to people who are bent on hurting the environment. According to King, the City Constabulary anti-littering squad is working in all local neighbourhoods, particularly in the central business district. “In another two weeks, a group of them will be armed with cameras so that we can work to find these litter bugs. We want to put in place a programme that is called ‘Name and Shame’ that will be in the media.”

Every person who contravenes the proposed by-law would be subjected to the above-mentioned fines, which are to be paid within 72 hours from the time notice is given of the imposition of the fine. Failure to pay attracts an additional fine of $10,000 for every 24 hours payment remains outstanding. Furthermore, according to the proposed by-law, every person who remains in default of payment for more than 72 hours commits an offence and upon summary conviction, is liable to imprisonment for a period of no less than 24 hours but not exceeding 120 hours.

“I believe that because we do not have these penalties and fines in place, people find an incentive to do what they’re doing. It’s unfair to the city, it’s unfair to decent-minded Guyanese and we have to stop it,” King stated.

“This applies to even someone throwing a cigarette butt on the ground to someone throwing a bag away with unwanted stuff. It applies to everyone found littering,” King clarified. According to the proposed by-laws, litter means any solid or liquid material or product such as rubbish, refuse, garbage, paper package, container, bottle, cans, manure, human or animal excrement, the whole or part of an animal carcass, coal, wood, gravel, earth, sawdust, glass, plastic, nails, stables, tacks, scraps or metal, and expended tobacco products. It also refers to the whole or part of any article, raw or processed material, vehicle or machinery of any type.

Regarding empty lots around the city, the by-laws state: “No person shall throw, place leave or deposit litter upon private property without the consent of the owner of the property. Where on any grounds, yard or vacant lot or property there is litter, the owner shall move such litter from the land, so that the land is left in a clean condition.” Furthermore, “No person shall urinate or defecate in the city except in a public washroom or portable or other such facility provided specifically for those purposes.”