GWI disconnects Berbice schools over region’s arrears

-REO’s intervention sees reconnection

The water supply to several schools in New Amsterdam and other areas was disconnected yesterday as the Region Six administration owes the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) some $61 million in payment for water supplied to institutions which fall under its control.

Stabroek News was told that GWI is owed for the “entire regional system” in Region Six.

Regional Chairman David Armogan told Stabroek News that he was informed yesterday by a source at GWI about the situation. He confirmed that he was told that $61 million is owed to GWI. As a result, he said he immediately made contact with the Regional Executive Officer Kim Williams-Stephen, who is the accounting officer for the region, to seek clarity on the matter.

According to Armogan, he was told by the REO that “it’s a government agency and she doesn’t believe that GWI would move in that direction to disconnect any service.”  When contacted yesterday, Williams-Stephen told this publication that she would not comment on the money owed to GWI. She said she was told that several schools were disconnected in the region. However, she added, that “The reconnection has already [taken] place.”

Asked whether she would be willing to comment after she gathers more information as to the amount of money owed to GWI and regarding the difficulty in paying for GWI’s services to regional institutions, she said, “I would not like to make a comment on that.”

Meanwhile, according to information gathered, several schools were disconnected yesterday, however, after Williams-Stephen would have reportedly made some “phone calls,” a reconnection exercise was carried out.

As government officials remain tightlipped on the issue, it is unclear now how the matter would be settled.

GWI over the past months has carried out a series of disconnection sessions throughout the region.

Persons in the sugar belt areas had complained that they were unable to pay the amount they owed to GWI since they would have lost their incomes due to the closure of the sugar factories in the region.

However, GWI did not reconnect those persons until they would have cleared their bills and paid their reconnection fees.

Additionally, other Berbicians had complained that they had owed GWI less than the reconnection fee itself but were still disconnected. They too had complained that due to their financial situation they could not afford to pay the money owed.  

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