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The caption in one of Guyana’s dailies reads: “Former GWI CEO says $30M party bill was ‘investment’ in staff.” If this kind of thinking is to be applied to life in general, then the world will quickly descend to drunkenness and all forms of debauchery.
In fact, it is not too far-fetched to accept a possible reality that this was what was happening with Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), under the now rejected former CEO, Dr. Van West Charles.
He cannot deny that some “… $30M was spent by GWI, under his leadership … as expenditure by the company.” What is even more appalling is that GWI spent some $15.58M on activities for the entity’s anniversary celebrations, held in May 2018.
That occasion included a retreat and a prize giving and awards ceremony, held at the Ramada Princess Hotel. Finally, for the year, the document had revealed that the utility company hosted a Christmas Party expending some $14.5M.
Van West Charles is defending all of this as an ‘investment in his staff.’
Some kind of investment this is when we are now learning that “… GWI (now owes) the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) some $7 billion for the period 2018 to 2020…” It is quite logical then to understand that the utility company was indeed “… essentially cash-strapped, to the point where it was unable to pay its electricity bills for that year.”
Let me point out to Van West what are examples of good leadership and investment.
Recently, in March 2021, Guyana Water Inc announced that the community of Kaikan, Region 7, will soon move from having 20 percent to 100 percent access to potable water.
I can bring up other examples but will close with this one.
Back in October 2020, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) started supplying residents of Esau and Jacob, Mahaicony, in Region Five, with potable water. GWI, at the time, explained that the venture resulted from an intervention by the Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, as previously residents suffered from a number of failed attempts in recent years, for this basic commodity.
I hope that the ‘cleaning up’ of GWI will be expedited with some kind of urgency, as ‘water is life’ and we need to safeguard it.