Water bodies merged
Interim management in place
Stabroek News
May 31, 2002

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The Guyana Water Inc was officially created yesterday following the signing of orders and provisions and after the presidential assent was given to the Water and Sewerage Bill.

Minister of Housing and Water, Shaik Baksh, said at a press conference to launch the new entity, all of the assets and liabilities of the Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA), and the Georgetown Sewerage and Water Commissioners (GS&WC), were transferred to the new single utility. It was also incorporated under the Company's Act and duly received its certificate of incorporation. Baksh said it was the culmination of some two years of continuous work.

A new interim management committee has been put in place until the finalisation of the performance-based management contract, which has been put out to tender. Bids are to be evaluated next month. The management contract, expected to be finalised within four months, will see a management team of five filling the top positions.

The team is expected to be in place by October.

Baksh, who signed the order, stated that most of the 500 staff members of the two entities would be retained. Some 13% or 78 are to be made redundant. These persons are to receive full benefits in keeping with statutory provisions under the collective labour agreement. Pensioners of both dissolved entities will continue to receive their benefits.

Among the persons elected to the new utility's board which will be installed next week are its Chairman Dr William Wilson, who held a similar position on the now defunct GS&WC board; Komal Chand who will function as vice chairman; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Claudette Moore; and University of Guyana Bursar John Seeram among others from the private sector and workers and consumer representatives.

The interim body selected to manage the new utility is headed by former acting chief executive officer of GUYWA Paul Bonar, who will hold the post of managing director (ag); Egbert Coggins, as operations manager; former GS&WC head Gladstone Fausett, as consumer relations and commercial services manager.

Randolph Leach will serve as human resources and development manager; Seeram will be financial consultant for four months while overseeing the entity's finance department; and former corporate secretary of GUYWA, Wazir Bacchus will retain a similar portfolio. Moore is also expected to function as advisor for a four-month period.

According to Baksh, logistics have already been worked out along with the streamlining of other departments. A unified billing and collection systems will be located at the old GS&WC headquarters on Vlissengen Road and several new divisions will be formed across the country.

The largest of these will stretch from Linden to Mahaica and will be headed by managers still to be identified.

The merger, the minister stated, was an effort to bring greater efficiency to the water sector as government moved forward with its modernisation.

The management contract will see the team of managers being financed for five years through the UK's Department for International Development. (Oscar P. Clarke)