This article originally appeared in the Beacon’s print edition on Jan. 17.
After several years in court, a lawsuit between government and the company Global Water Associates Ltd. still has not been settled, Premier Dr. Orlando Smith reported during a House of Assembly sitting on Tuesday.
The dispute stems from government’s alleged breach of two contracts it signed with Global Water on Sept. 19, 2006.
The first contract was a $2.68 million no-bid deal for the company to design, build and install a plant in Paraquita Bay capable of processing 250,000 gallons of wastewater per day. The other was a much more lucrative 12-year operating agreement, which would have paid Global Water $20 per thousand gallons of treated waste during that time period.
Global Water has claimed that government’s breach of the two contracts caused the firm damages estimated at more than $22 million, according to a “case summary” drafted by company attorneys at the law firm O’Neal Webster in 2012.
However, when the dispute went to a three-person arbitration panel in 2014, the panel ruled that Global should be compensated only for government’s breach of the $2.68 million design-and-build contract.
It is unclear how much money would have been awarded by the arbitrators, as Global brought the case to the Commercial Court before they had decided the value of the firm’s claim.
In a February 2016 judgement, Justice Barry Leon ruled that the arbitration panel erred when it decided to award compensation to Global Water based only on government’s breach of the design-and-build agreement.
The panel, he stated, should also award compensation based on government’s breach of the 12-year operating agreement with the firm.
In early 2017, government appealed that Commercial Court decision to the Court of Appeal, and the appeal was allowed in February 2018.
Most recently, Global Water filed an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council late last year, which is now pending, according to Dr. Smith.