Tanks didn’t need anything, said a WSC manager in Gibson case


Tribune Staff Reporter


A WATER and Sewerage Corporation employee testified in the Adrian Gibson corruption trial yesterday that water tanks were in “fairly” good condition in 2020 before $260k contracts were awarded for companies to paint them.

Erno Bowe, senior manager at WSC, said the tanks “didn’t need anything”.

Recalling what happened in 2020, he said the former WSC general manager Elwood Donaldson called him with instructions against the standard procedure.

He said he was in the control room when WSC’s supply staff called him.

He said after receiving specific information, he denied entry to people seeking access to the water tanks.

He then called the WSC’s deputy general manager Robert Deal before denying people access to the water tanks again.

He said about five to 10 minutes later, Mr Donaldson called and instructed him to let people access the tank.

He said the people accessed the tanks located in Windsor for six months.

He said to his knowledge, no procurement process was followed for the contracts to paint the tanks.

He claimed that a PL99 form, which must be filled out by the corporation’s engineering department when a job requires extensive renovation, was not completed.

During cross-examination, Donaldson’s attorney, Ian Cargill, suggested that Mr Bowe’s testimony contradicted his statements to police, a claim Mr Bowe denied.

The next witness, Chelsa Fernander, an assistant engineer at WSC, recalled inspecting water tanks at the Blue Hills and Windsor locations.

During a visit to Blue Hills lower levels, she said she remembered seeing Gibson and Donaldson at the site, describing their visit as “unusual.”

However, Gibson’s attorney, Damian Gomez, KC, suggested their visit was not unusual because they were required to protect the corporation’s interests.

“At this time, we were in a pandemic,” Mr Gomez said, recalling the importance of washing hands.

“How would they do that if you failed to deliver water to the public?” he asked.

In response, the witness noted that the tanks were being painted, not supplying water.

Asked who worked on the tanks at the Blue Hills location, she named Elite Maintenance Incorporated and Baha Maintenance and Restoration, noting the latter subcontracted Top Notch.

She said Top Notch was let go after being given a stop order by WSC officials because they either couldn’t finish the work quickly enough or didn’t have the proper equipment.

RL Pools, she later revealed, conducted work as a subcontractor for Elite Maintenance.

She said Adams Landscaping was contracted to work at the Windsor site, but RL Pools did the actual work.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Cordell Fraizer said: “You would’ve indicated that RL Pools would’ve given you two quotes, one on the 22nd of June 2020, and that would be in the amount of $83,700, and one on the 23rd of June 2020 in the amount of $51, 920. Were they awarded the contracts to paint these tanks from Water and Sewerage, from your knowledge?”

Ms Fernander said she could not answer because she was not involved in the tendering process.

When asked who painted WSC’s buildings, she said a company called Spectacular.

Defense counsel will continue cross-examining Ms Fernander at the next hearing.

Mr Gibson is charged with WSC’s former general manager, Elwood Donaldson, Jr, Rashae Gibson, Joan Knowles, Peaches Farquharson and Jerome Missick.

Together, the group face 98 charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, bribery, fraud, receiving and money laundering.

Mr Gomez, KC, Murrio Ducille, KC, Bryan Bastian, Raphael Moxey, Christina Galanos, Ian Cargill and Donald Saunders represent the defendants.

Ms Frazier, Ms Thompson and Karine MacVean are the Crown prosecutors.

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