Saturday, June 27, 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Approximately 200 residents of what is known as the St. Vincent Block in Punta Gorda Town, an enclave of Garifuna, are up in arms with Belize Water Services Limited (BWS) over alleged discriminatory practices.
They believe that the company or the Government should compensate them for the thousands of gallons of water siphoned from their property and fed to the rest of Punta Gorda and surrounding villages including Cattle Landing and Forest Home.
Meanwhile, Block residents must get their water from a single community standpipe, and even this was threatened with disconnection by the water provider recently. BWS Public Relations Manager Haydon Brown told 7 News that the account for the Block, which is managed by a group of trustees appointed by the community, is in arrears and needs to be attended to avoid future disconnection.
As for specific connections to the community, Brown says BWS was prepared to go ahead in 2012 if it had a proper survey of the community for a project that would have cost an estimated $72,000; however, no such survey was and has been done.
On the extraction issue, Brown says BWS contracts with the Government, in whom all natural resources including water are vested, to acquire water sources for distribution. The Government would have to pay any compensation due to the community, Brown says.
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