KUWAIT: Municipal Council member and rapporteur of the Capital committee Ali Al-Moussa spoke in an exclusive interview with Kuwait Times on various topics, including expatriates’ ownership of properties, the beach barbeque ban and the cleaning companies’ contracts. The following is the transcript of the interview:
Many expats have been living in Kuwait for several years now and have every right to own residential apartments the way expats in other countries can
Kuwait Times: Do you have any plans to utilize foreign expertise in municipal work or with the Kuwait Municipality?
Ali Al-Moussa: Actually, we are looking forward to mandating and getting embassies that have economic and commercial attaches in Kuwait to exchange expertise with us.
KT: What kind of expertise do you need to discuss most with these diplomatic bodies?
Moussa: Some friendly countries have special bylaws and regulations in effect and we need to discuss them in terms of municipal activities and make use of their experiences in putting those regulations into practice.
KT: Should Kuwait adopt the regulations used in the countries you mentioned?
Moussa: We need to adopt the regulations needed to develop municipal work in general, especially those related to projects that were successful in those countries.
KT: Is there an actual model to use in attracting such expertise or do you intend to visit the concerned embassies or countries to gain such experience?
Moussa: We had an ideal experience during a visit to Britain, which was coordinated by the British ambassador to Kuwait, to whom I wish to express my appreciation for giving us the opportunity to review British municipal regulations and bylaws.
KT: Some expatriates living in Kuwait have been suffering because they are not allowed to own residential properties in Kuwait. What do you think about that?
Moussa: I am absolutely for the idea of allowing Arab and foreign expats to own their own apartments in various investment areas, especially since many of them have been living in Kuwait for several years now and have every right to own residential apartments the way expats in other countries can. If such a proposal is passed, it will help provide Kuwait with a new source of income and reduce the outflow of expat remittances.
KT: Do you believe that Kuwait would benefit from this proposal?
Moussa: Arab and foreign expats in Kuwait will definitely reduce the sums they transfer back to their home countries, boost Kuwait’s status on Arab country as well as at international levels and revive the economy. It will also help many expats who actually deem themselves citizens by affinity and by the long years they have spent in Kuwait.
KT: Tell us something about your trips abroad and their benefit to municipal activities?
Moussa: We have gone on various successful trips, visiting Arab and foreign waste recycling factories and plants during which we benefited very much from others’ experiences in this field and intend to adopt them in Kuwait, especially since they help increase public revenues.
KT: Some foreign and Arab expats have many complaints about cleanliness in their neighborhoods. What do you have to say about this?
Moussa: As a matter of fact, the municipality missed out including some important conditions in the new cleaning contracts for using modern cleaning machinery, which led to increasing the costs of such contracts. Some cleaning companies do not respect this clause and Asian garbage collectors working for them still use conventional and outdated primitive equipment that do not help achieve the desired cleanliness levels. However, the municipality supervisory bodies ought to take very strict measures against all violating cleaning companies.
KT: Many sea-lovers have noticed increasing amounts of refuse in Kuwaiti national waters. Why doesn’t the municipality act to remove this rubbish?
Moussa: On a visit to a European country, the use of specialized marine municipal units to collect waste from various beaches caught my attention. Such units and machinery are not yet used in Kuwait and are not even included in newly-signed cleaning contracts. I do hope they would be brought to Kuwait soon to remove waste and garbage from Kuwaiti beaches.
KT: Many expatriates have expressed dissatisfaction with the municipality’s decision banning barbequing at various beaches without offering an alternative. What is the best solution to this problem?
Moussa: Beach barbequing is a recreational activity and banning it is not an ideal solution, unless alternative sites are allocated and barbeque equipment is provided at reasonable fees affordable by everyone on the condition that all users fully observe cleanliness and the municipality has those sites under close supervision.
KT: Do you believe it is important to name some Kuwaiti streets after foreigners who have served it in various fields?
Moussa: Yes, I am totally for such a proposal in order to memorialize some outstanding Europeans for their services to Kuwait.
KT: A large segment of the Kuwaiti population is youths, who have every right to enjoy their leisure time and have access to special facilities where they can practice their hobbies. What do you think of these youth demands?
Moussa: I believe entire integrated areas should be allocated for youths to practice their favorite hobbies, including hazardous ones like racing, shooting and scooter games. Those sites should be suitable to Kuwait’s climate and good enough to encourage the youth to use them.
KT: The municipal council was recently allocated a land plot to build the Diplomatic Club along Balajat Street in Salmiya. What is holding up the execution of the project so far?
Moussa: The municipal council did allocate the land to build the club for the benefit of a large segment of Arab and foreign diplomats. I hope the club will be built soon.
KT: Speaking of sidewalks and jogging areas, what is the municipal council’s role in this regard?
Moussa: Such exercises must be encouraged and special places must be allocated for both citizens and expatriates to practice it, which is widely encouraged and practiced in several Arab and European countries we visited. These routes must be shaded and paved, and we must also provide special lanes for cyclists.
By Meshaal Al-Enezi