Mayor of Port of Spain, Joel Martinez.

Businesses in the capital city, Port of Spain, may soon find themselves paying to have their commercial garbage removed, if Mayor Joel Martinez has his way.

Speaking on The Morning Brew on CNC3 today, Mayor Martinez revealed that steps are being taken to ensure that business owners take responsibility for waste coming from their establishments.

“We have a lot of garbage that is put out by businesses,” he explains. “Actually, they should be paying to pick up their commercial garbage; only some businesses actually do this.”

“We are going to adopt a programme shortly where we will charge businesses for additional garbage beyond the normal amount. That will help us to generate additional revenue to be able to have more trucks and personnel looking after the cleanliness of the city,” he revealed.

The Port of Spain Mayor told us keeping the capital city clean requires a team effort. 

He admitted that financial constraints, as well as approvals from the Water and Sewerage Authority and the Fire Services, have contributed to the irregularity with which the city streets are washed.

“We would to wash down the streets every single day,” he says. “We have the manpower to do it, and the equipment like power washers, and so on. At some stage, we had a process where we were doing it at 4 to 5 o’clock in the morning.”

He added: “Up to recently, there were photos of street washing in St James. But it is not done as regularly as we would like. Sometimes, the approvals from WASA take a while.”

Earlier this week, Government announced plans to revitalise the capital city, with sanitation issues being a major concern in those efforts.

Delivering the feature address at the launch of the new Master Plan to Revitalise the City of Port of Spain, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley pointed to a few of the short term goals, namely cleaning the city, increasing the presence of police, removing the homeless from the streets and improving lighting.

Other goals include the Memorial Park Plaza development, the Salvatori Site and the creation of a green space at the Foreshore.