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Explanation from Chris Husbands

Christopher Husbands – has addressed the issue

General Manager of the state-controlled National Water & Sewerage Authority (NAWASA), Christopher Husbands has denied suggestions in certain quarters that an act of sabotage was committed in the decision taken just over a week ago to cut off the water from the St George South-east Parliamentary Office of Minister of Social and Community Development, Phillip Telesford.

“It was not a deliberate act by NAWASA – definitely not,” Husbands told THE NEW TODAY.

According to the NAWASA boss, the water utility is currently working with the Clerk of Parliament, Andrew Augustine “to make sure we get all the records updated” so that there is not a re-occurrence of this in going forward.

“There was a breakdown in how the information was being updated so we are going through the process now with the (Office of Parliament) of ensuring that we update all the accounts so that it does not reoccur.”

“It was just a breakdown in how the information was updated given the fact that the offices of MP’s on both sides were cut off.”

“Clearly, there was a breakdown with the updating that we are fixing now together with the Clerk of Parliament so it doesn’t happen again.”

The Parliamentary Office in St Andrew North-east, of Kate Lewis-Peters the former Minister of Youth Affairs in the defeated New National Party (NNP) was also cut off within hours of that of Telesford.

Husbands denied claims in certain quarters that the office of Lewis-Peters was cut-off to send a message that NAWASA had not only targeted the Minister in the Congress administration.

“That’s not true. People say all kinds of things. Unfortunately people attach and impute their own meanings to things. It was simply an error with the updating – there were some accounts that information was not provided for and the two entities (NAWASA and Parliament) are working together to update all the information,” he said.

Husbands was also asked to comment specifically on how come NAWASA did not cut off the offices of delinquent NNP ministers during the reign of the former NNP government of ex-Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

He said that an account will only come up for disconnection when there is a period of time of non-payment and that even if a Constituency office has not been paid it is not an account that should just not be flagged for further consideration.

Husbands pointed out that in going forward, the accounts information of the offices of MP’s has to be accurately updated in such a manner that whenever “the disconnection is run, these accounts do not come up for disconnection even if they are in arrears because it is a separate process to follow.”

He also said that NAWASA is dealing with 40, 000 accounts every month and now has to take steps and put in certain safeguards “to ensure that that does not re-occur.”

Minister Telesford had initially told THE NEW TODAY that he was dismayed at the action of NAWASA since he had not even received a bill from the utility company as Parliament was responsible for paying for the water and not the Landlord.

Under the former NNP regime, the bills for MP offices were put under the Office of then Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell who retained a private company, CJ’s, that was owned and operated by a close relative, to look after them.

New Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell had told Grenadians at a Town Hall meeting that CJ’s had collected over $18 million in a two year period to look after these offices.

The CJ’s contract ended when Congress defeated NNP in the June 23 general election.

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