Tue | May 23, 2017

JDF says NWC owes it more than $700 million

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2015 | 5:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Major General Stewart Saunders

THE JAMAICA Defence Force (JDF) is seeking to recover three-quarter billion dollars from the National Water Commission (NWC) after claiming that the utility company overcharged it over an eight-year period.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Major General Stewart Saunders told Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday that the JDF was now in negotiations with the NWC in order to retrieve the sum of $737 million.

"The water comes into Up Park Camp at one particular point and it leaves through the main at another point. Now, what normally happens is that the JDF has a number of easements going into various communities. The water supplies going there have been charged to the JDF, so there are some communities that have not paid water for quite some time, and the JDF has been billed," Saunders explained.

audit done

Giving details, Lieutenant Colonel David Cummings of the JDF said the army has been closely monitoring the bills it has received from the NWC over an extended period.

"As a result of the size of the bills, which to us seem disproportionate to the size of the base and the number of persons who are on the base, we asked for an audit to be done of the physical infrastructure where all the pipes go to, and as a result of that audit, in conjunction with the National Water Commission, we have recognised that a significant amount of water that comes into Up Park Camp and is metered, once again leaves the camp through other pipes," Cummings explained.

He stressed that approximately half the volume of water that enters Up Park Camp exits into neighbouring institutions and communities.

Cummings said that the JDF is also holding talks with the NWC to have the agency turn over the use of a well on the premises back to the army. Currently, the NWC uses the well to supply its customers.

He said the army would be able to supply its entire facility at Up Park Camp if the well were to be turned over to it. In addition, Cummings said the NWC could use the excess supply for its other customers.

The Gleaner sought a comment from the NWC, but, up to news time, a response had not been received from the agency's communications department.