The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) collected the sum of $5.3B in revenue this year. That sum could have been more significant, had it not been for defaulters, who owe the company in excess of $3B. This shortfall has led to the company not being able to turn a profit yet, for this year, says the agency’s General Manager (GM), Dr. Richard Van West-Charles.
The official noted that there are several cases before the courts with respect to nonpayment of bills. Dr. West-Charles was also quick to point out that another challenge is that of illegal connections.
“We have had some challenges with illegal connections, not necessary by small people [but] by big people, and I want to say that Mr. Nigel Niles, who is the Corporate Secretary and Attorney, has been busy in the courts. And we will continue to address the issue of illegal connections,” he said.
The GM reminded that it is against the law to tamper with the company’s infrastructure.
“The law is clear: if you tamper with GWI’s infrastructure, it is a criminal offence,” he emphasised.
Niles told the Guyana Standard that the agency is currently looking at commencing litigation against some 300 customers from Regions Four (Demerara/Mahaica) and Five (Mahaica Berbice).
“Matters that are currently before the courts maybe about 30 to 40 matters in the High Court between Berbice and Georgetown, and we have lists from Region Two that came in recently, so that may be another 30 to 40 customers. So, we have quite a heavy load to start with in 2020,” Niles said.
He explained that the entity would “usually” focus on customers who owe in excess of $50,000, since it is not feasible to bring legal action against those who owe small amounts of money.
“In terms of the cost to take these persons to court, because they owe $10,000 or $5,000 it is not worth it. So, we usually focus on the costumers who owe more,” the attorney noted.
Niles said that the regional officials would employ “methods of persuasion” to get persons who owe small amounts of monies, to settle their account. These methods would include telephone calls, letter, and if necessary, disconnection.