Supreme Court blames WSC for water disruption in Eleuthera
Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson has egg on his face after the Supreme Court ruled that WSC was to blame for an embarrassing disruption of water supply to Eleuthera residents in October 2020.
The judge ruled that WSC’s case is “without merit” and the water supplier Aqua Design (Bahamas) had a right to terminate its agreement after Water and Sewerage failed to pay $644,010 which it owed.
Last year, WSC’s water supplier in Central Eleuthera cut production because of a disagreement about arrears, leaving hundreds of residents without water supply to carry out basic functions like washing their hands, taking a bath or doing laundry.
Gibson condemned the actions of the company as “inhumane”, but in a shocking turn of events, Supreme Court Justice Indra Charles sided with the water supplier.
Charles said in her ruling, “I find that WSC defaulted in the timely payments of its invoices and Aqua was entitled to terminate the agreement in accordance with Clause 27.2. “
“Aqua’s termination was properly executed.”
“The Order of this Court will be: the declarations and orders sought by WSC in the Amended Originating Summons filed on 10 November 2020 are without merit and must fail.”
Justice Charles added, “Aqua is entitled to a reasonable period of two months to demobilize its materials, equipment, parts, chemicals and consumables and facilities and leave the “Plant Site” in a neat, clean and tidy condition to the satisfaction of WSC.”
She concluded, “Lastly, by virtue of the Act, WSC was established to fulfill the mandate of the Government of The Bahamas to provide potable water to its citizens and, by extension, the residents of Central Eleuthera.”
“Aqua does not have such an obligation. Aqua is in the business of supplying water. There is no legal basis to prevent Aqua from switching off its supply of water if the arrears are not paid within a reasonable time frame. There is also no legal basis for Aqua to give WSC sufficient time to secure another supplier. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. Communication cannot be a one-way street.”
As the successful party in this court matter, Aqua is now entitled to costs.
Aqua claims costs in the sum of $84,218.50.
At a time when the country’s debt is burgeoning and borrowing is out of control, Adrian Gibson’s arrogance is costing taxpayers over $80,000. He insisted on initiating legal action against the water supplier to save face when it was clear he was wrong for taking a bullish attitude with Aqua and refused to pay the supplier money owed.
Gibson and the Minnis Administration must be held accountable for continuing to waste taxpayers money on fruitless court cases initiated to exact revenge on those who dare to stand up to them.
Water and Sewerage Corporation was represented by attorney Feron Bethell, a staunch Free National Movement (FNM) supporter and a board member of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL). In fact, when Minister of Works axed the entire BPL board without explanation, Bethell was the only board member to be appointed to the new BPL board.