The farm charity for at-risk youth has had its water supply cut off for failing to keep up with a plan to pay its water bill to the Barbados Water Authority, said to amount to $25,000, BWA general manager Keithroy Halliday said today.
In a statement issued a day after Barbados TODAY reported the story of the Nature Fun Ranch’s padlocked pipeline, at Bruce Vale, St Andren Halliday said: “The Nature Fun Ranch has been and continues to be in arrears to the [BWA] for several thousand dollars over a protracted period of time.
“BWA facilitated Corey Layne representing Nature Fun Ranch to meet with Minister Wilfred Abrahams, Chairman of the BWA Board of Directors, Leodean Worrell and myself Keithroy Halliday several months ago.
“Mr Layne presented his story and was told that we would work with him. He was allowed to determine his own payment terms so that we could be assured that he would honour them. In good faith we restored the water without receiving any payment.
“We also went as far as to advice Mr Layne that if he could not manage the payment plan which he had proposed, then he should contact us.”
Halliday further stated Layne had not made any payments to the BWA since the payment plan was reached therefore the BWA’s disconnection.
Halliday added: “It is important to note that no payment towards the outstanding balance was ever made from the date of that meeting to date.
“To my knowledge, Mr Layne also made no attempt to contact any agent of the Authority nor to alert them, as instructed, that he was experiencing any continued difficulties in meeting his commitment.
“Regrettably, the BWA had no choice but to follow its disconnection policy, once the agreed payment terms were breached.”
But in challenging the BWA GM, Layne told Barbados TODAY that he entered into a payment plan agreement with the Water Authority back in March after his water was turned off.
He said: “They cut the water since the 15th of March so that part is totally false. Totally, totally false. The first time I got a meeting with them was in March. I never had a meeting with them before in my life. The first meeting I had with them was in March.”
He further revealed the agreement which was verbal required him to pay $1,000 by March 15, after which he would have to pay $9,000 by March 31 which would be followed by monthly payments of his current bill plus $500.00.
Layne declared: “I did not sign any agreement. No signature contract, just a word of mouth thing and that was really pending the approval of the board. They said they needed to get approval from the board.”
He said in the interim the farm was using a backup emergency water supply as well as towing water from the neighbourhood standpipe.