The long-running dispute between the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) and Innotech Services over the latter’s multi-million-dollar arrangement made with the previous administration, has been resolved.
This afternoon, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams told Barbados TODAY that a deal was finalized yesterday between the state-owned water company and the Anthony Da Silva-run Innotech.
Abrahams revealed that the full details of the deal will be disclosed to the public at a later date. He further explained that the new look agreement included, water trucks, the community tanks and the lease arrangement for the building currently used as the BWA headquarters.
Barbados TODAY reached out to Da Silva, who confirmed that a deal was indeed reached, but he too was tight-lipped about the details
However, the Minister was elated that the 18-month saga, most of which was played out in the public domain, is now over.
“I am happy to say that we finally signed off on the deal with Innotech. The deal is perhaps one of the most wide-ranging situations that we had to deal with. It covered the rental and maintenance of the building, it covered the water tanker trucks, the tanks used in the personal tank programme, it also covered some portable desalination units…
“I will likely issue a statement on the full details next week because I believe in transparency but I am very glad to put this all behind us. It now allows us to use all of the resources we have to address the issues we have before us,” said Abrahams.
He explained that the deal will now enable the BWA to better serve its customers, as it gives the water company a clear idea of where it needs to invest in equipment.
“There were a lot of things which made no sense for the Barbados Water Authority to invest in, which would likely have been part of the deal. It had us a bit hamstrung because we know what we have to deliver to the people of Barbados and some of it was wrapped up in our issues with Innotech. There were a lot of assets that we could have deployed that were tied up, pending the resolution of this deal,” he pointed out.
The Minister told Barbados TODAY that a number of players worked tirelessly to craft the settlement, including the London-based consultancy firm, White Oak, which played a pivotal role in negotiating Barbados’ domestic and external debt settlement.
“This is a good day for us. A lot of work went into it, even though sometimes persons may complain that they don’t see things happening, they need to understand that it takes time to resolve an issue of this nature. A lot of negotiations were going on involving a lot of people. The external debt negotiators for the Government, White Oak, as well as the chairman of Water Authority [Leodean Worrell] were all actively involved. It took a concentrated effort for us to get to this point. I am comfortable that we have put this aspect behind us and we can now focus on delivering a better service to the people of Barbados with our full arsenal,” he stressed.
Last December, Government said it was renegotiating its contract with Innotech for the leasing arrangement involving the $40 million BWA headquarters.
At the time, BWA chairman Leodean Worrell had reported that Government was in a contract, which would see it paying more than $170 million over a 15-year period before the BWA could own the Pine, St Michael building. [email protected]