Haags Bosch contract controversyThe Communities Ministry has once again reached out to the public in defence of the process used to award the $221 million contract to Puran Brothers Disposal Inc for the development and maintenance of the controversial Haags Bosch solid waste disposal site at Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD).The Ministry had come under fire last week by another contractor, Cevon’s Waste Management, which had also bid for the contract. Cevon’s had accused Government of going against protocol to hand the project to Puran Brothers.The Ministry had immediately responded to the claims by Cevon’s, but has again made a statement in this regard.The release said that the Ministry would at no time seek to deny any interested stakeholder the opportunity to contribute to the integrity and reliability of the process that would lead to improved solid waste management.“The Ministry further reiterates that it will act with dispatch in accordance with the necessary provisions to secure the environmental integrity in the operation of sanitary landfills.”According to the Ministry, no effort will be spared to ensure the highest standards of integrity, civility and ethics at the other municipal landfill facilities.Cevon’s Management, following the award of the contract to Puran Brothers, had moved to file a protest with the Bid Protest Committee (BPC). It said the decision to award the contract to Puran Brothers Disposal Inc was unfair and biased. Cevon’s also cited low price, technical competence, operation methodology and past performance as reasons for the protestLast week, the $221 million one-year contract was inked between the Communities Ministry and Puran Brothers Inc for that company to maintain the Eccles, EBD dumpsite. Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, when questioned by Guyana Times assured that the awardee was found to be the most suitable among the bidders for the project.He said efforts to bring relief to residents of Eccles and neighbouring communities have been, over the past several months, in the pipeline to ensure that the Haags Bosch Landfill facility was transformed into a site which complied with international and environmental standards.The Ministry said it remained committed to ensuring that new measures were implemented to guarantee the effective management of waste.At the signing of the contract, Bulkan had said that the signing of the new contract provided for different and improved features, including the use of a compactor unit to more efficiently manage waste and to extend the lifespan of the landfill site.“There will be daily cover of the waste to prevent odour and other unsanitary effects. There will also be proper firefighting equipment,” he said, since there have been numerous fires during the last couple of months, following the departure of the previous contractor.The Communities Minister said it was expected that a “fresh approach” from what was said was the continuation of an intended meaningful relationship between Central and Local Government.