APUA takes back water company

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the General Manager of Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA), Esworth Martin ought to be fired for side-stepping the tendering process in the management of Sembcorp.

His statement comes amidst the controversy surrounding the authority’s contract with privately owned NS Management Ltd to manage Sembcorp, the country’s main source of water supply.

“Cabinet is very clear that any management of the Sembcorp facility, any outsourcing of the management ought to go to tender, and as far as I am concerned, those who are brazen enough to breach that policy ought to pay the consequences,” he told OBSERVER media yesterday.

It is alleged that contrary to the advice of APUA’s Board of Commissioners and Cabinet, Martin told the owner of NS Management Ltd, Tomas Hellier, via a letter, that he could proceed to manage the plant which the government took over recently.

The letter was incorrectly dated January 13, 2917 instead of 2017,

Martin further wrote Hellier… “It confirms the completion of negotiations between your company (NS Management) and Antigua Public Utilities Authority…an agreement has been reached between both parties that has initiated the production of a contract that will reflect the terms reached.”

That letter was copied to the Minister responsible for APUA, Sir Robin Yearwood and Ivan Rodrigues, APUA water manager.

A source within APUA, who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday night, said Martin’s letter contradicted the final decision made by APUA’s management team and APUA’s Board of Commissioners on January 12, 2017.

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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