Contractor unable to levy on GUYWA’s assets to satisfy judgment
Stabroek News
August 6, 2002

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The Guyana Water Authority (GUYWA) has bequeathed to its successor corporation, Guyana Water Inc some forty-seven pending cases in the high court against the company filed by contractors, employees and others. One of the cases involves Stephen Giddings whose company, Nebula Construction Company, successfully sued GUYWA for $3.1 million.

GUYWA’s counsel, Darshan Ramdhani, told Stabroek News that his clients are still pursuing the matter because Giddings did not fulfil the terms of his contract.

The money claimed in the action was for work done by Giddings’ company at La Bonne Intention, which was approved by the foreign consultant retained by GUYWA who passed bills of quantities to the value of about $2.3 million, which was less than the bid submitted. GUYWA disregarded the consultant’s recommendation and its own engineer valued the work at considerably less than the consultant had done. Giddings said, too, that GUYWA unilaterally and without giving him any notice forfeited the performance bond his company had put up. Giddings sued GUYWA for the amount of the work done after failing to reach a negotiated settlement.

On January 21, Giddings obtained judgment from Justice B.S. Roy against GUYWA for the sum of $2,525,230 with interest as specified therein. There was no appearance for GUYWA at the hearing.

This order was not entered until February 18, despite strenuous efforts by Giddings’ counsel to obtain the file from the High Court Registry. He finally approached Justice Roy and he was able to have the order entered.

Before Giddings could move to recover his money, the records show that he had to appear before Justice Moore as a result of a legal summons filed by GUYWA’s counsel for leave to apply out of time to have the order of Justice Roy vacated and the action reheard. Justice Moore struck out the application. His order was entered on February 25.

Another summons was filed by GUYWA for leave to apply out of time to have the case retried. This was also defeated with Justice Moore again striking it out. This order by Justice Moore was entered on February 28.

With the application struck out by Justice Moore again, Giddings moved to levy on the assets of GUYWA to satisfy his judgment. Giddings says he was frustrated in this attempt and his lawyer wrote the Supreme Court Registrar on March 5, pointing out that “the Deputy Registrar has today refused to permit the execution of a levy on the movable property of the defendant on the ground that a third application by the defendant is scheduled for hearing on March 7, 2002.”

That hearing was before Justice Moore at which GUYWA asked for a stay of execution of the order granted, which was denied. As a result the judgment granted on January 21st stands. Stabroek News understands that save for the last hearing GUYWA’s counsel was not present when the judgment went against GUYWA.

There was reportedly no indication to the court as to why GUYWA’s counsel was not present.

Stabroek News has learnt that Giddings then sought the assistance of the Office of the President to get GUYWA to effect payment but to no avail. The Office of the President reportedly withdrew from the matter when GUYWA informed it that it had not yet exhausted all the legal avenues available to it.