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…Van-West Charles fired due to politics
Managing Director of the Guyana Water Inc, Richard Van-West Charles was on Monday fired, but will go on his accumulated leave which ends at the end of October.
Charles was a candidate of the APNU+AFC and his a prominent member of the PNCR. He is one of many other officials of the coalition who have had their services terminated since the change in administration. “I have a contract. I do my work notwithstanding I am a member of the Central Executive Committee of the PNCR,” Charles told Village Voice in an interview Monday evening. He said there is a clause in his contract which states that either party must give of three months notice if either side wants to terminate the contract. “It is with immediate effect. I will go on administrative leave and then at the end of it the contract will come to an end,” Charles told the Village Voice. Asked about the duration of the contract he said it was due to expire in October 2021. Charles said he has been guaranteed whatever benefits he is entitled to.
“I have been able to transform the company. In terms equipment, human resources, transportation and access,” Charles told Village Voice. He said all these were done in keeping with one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which speaks to access to potable water. “I believe also that I was able during my tenure to develop a good cadre of engineers and managers who can effectively run the company and it is hoped that they continue to give the people of Guyana the very best of service.” Charles said he always told his staff that despite their political persuasion they must do work professionally. “I would hope they continue to act professionally.”
Asked what’s next for him he said he is a medical doctor by profession and will more than likely continue to work in that area. “I am always busy…keep up to date as a physicians and I hope to get into agriculture.”
A Guyana Chronicle editorial had posited that any honest analysis of the performance of the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) would show that it is perhaps one of the most improved public utility companies since 2015. The results of this performance over the past years, for those paying attention, have been improvement in the delivery of water in several communities across the country. The editorial stated that for instance, there were communities that were receiving 10-14 hours of water supply per day that are now receiving 24 hours supply, which not only makes this vital service accessible but also reduces the necessity of purchasing or building storage facilities. In the said communities, there has also been improvement in the water pressure and communities that were not in receipt of potable water are being targeted in a sustained and systematic manner to benefit. These actions have led to reasonable assumption that there is focus on equity in the delivery of water, as is evident in communities in the hinterland and rural areas that are attracting attention and service.
According to the editorial almost weekly we see reports of GWI establishing water connections in villages and communities where previously this seem impossible. Water is an essential commodity and considered a public health issue, given the diseases it could carry and its vital nature to sustenance and health, making it also a human right. According to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) ‘Sanitation and Water: Evidence for public policies focused on human rights and public health results’ Report “Lack of drinking water and basic sanitation has a devastating impact on development processes. It is the second largest cause of morbidity and mortality for children under 5 years of age in the Region, and the largest contributor to the burden of environment-related disease.” The editorial stated that one of the major objectives of the present GWI management is to end dependency on the black tank and other forms of storage.