Developer hits back at Samuda in sewage row
Landmark Developers Limited has fired back at the minister with responsibility for housing for asking the police to bar them from disconnecting residents of Liberty Estate, St Mary, from the incomplete sewerage system. The company argued that it is inappropriate for the police to intervene in a civil dispute.
"Landmark owns the sewerage system and has proprietary rights under the law. Minister (Karl) Samuda acted outside of his authority," said Melissa Silvera, managing director of Landmark Developers.
She added, "Many persons have signed on for Landmark's sewerage provision services to date and paid their connection fee, but there are a few who have refused to pay the rates handed down by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation). Six persons have been disconnected."
Samuda, who visited the community on Friday, described the issue as appalling. "The sewer system has not been completed, resulting in raw sewage out in the open for everyone to see and smell. On top of that, persons have been disconnected from the system. They had sewage in their yards. This will not be allowed to continue," Samuda reported.
But Silvera countered, "Minister Samuda's pronouncements regarding Landmark and Liberty Estate are half-truths, reckless and fortified with a political agenda, in order to appease non-compliant persons who refuse to pay for sewerage."
She pointed out that under the joint venture between Landmark and the Government, any breach would have to be resolved through arbitration.
In January, the OUR announced a rate of just over $3,100 per month, a connection fee between $6,000 and $15,000, and $10,000 for reconnection. The OUR noted that service-quality issues were highlighted by customers during a consultation in October. Landmark was mandated to, among other things, craft a customer-service charter and a policy to govern procedures for efficient sewer management.