Iwer George Ordered To Pay $100,000 To Ex-Business Associate

guardian.co.tt- Busi­ness­man and vet­er­an so­ca artiste Neil “Iw­er” George has been or­dered to pay over $100,000 in com­pen­sa­tion to a for­mer em­ploy­ee and busi­ness as­so­ciate for work and ser­vices pro­vid­ed to his par­ty boat en­ter­prise.

De­liv­er­ing an oral judg=ment at the end of a one-day tri­al at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain this af­ter­noon, High Court Judge James Aboud up­held the claim brought by Calvin LaVende, of L’Anse Mi­tan Road, Care­nage.

Tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore Aboud, LaVende claimed that in Sep­tem­ber 2011, he was em­ployed by George to con­duct clean up op­er­a­tions on the MV Coral Vi­sion while the de­com­mis­sioned Coast Guard ves­sel was be­ing con­vert­ed to un­der­take civil­ian plea­sure cruis­es.

LaVende claimed that George ap­proached him to pur­chase an out­board en­gine for the ves­sel’s lifeboat as it was due to be in­spect­ed.

He claimed that he arranged for George to pur­chase the lifeboat from a neigh­bour and agreed to sell him an en­gine for $7,000. He claimed that George paid a $2,000 down­pay­ment but nev­er cleared the re­main­ing debt.

LaVende al­so al­leged that George re­quest­ed that he clean the ship’s four wa­ter tanks.

He ad­mit­ted that he and George did not agree to a price for the job as he claimed that George was in a rush to have the job com­plet­ed.

“I was work­ing 24 hours be­cause he was hus­tling me,” LaVende said.

He claimed that the job cost more than ini­tial­ly an­tic­i­pat­ed and he quot­ed a rate of $18,000 per tank. LaVende ad­mit­ted that he did not have com­par­a­tive es­ti­mates for the work as he was “small con­trac­tor”.

“I had to put back wa­ter in­to it so that the in­spec­tors would not know it had fu­el in it. He nev­er paid me my mon­ey and have me suf­fer­ing all now,” LaVende said, as he claimed that he was sus­pi­cious that George may be in­volved in fu­el bunker­ing.

Through­out his tes­ti­mo­ny, LaVende ad­mit­ted to hav­ing prob­lems re­count­ing de­tails as the busi­ness arrange­ment as he claimed that he was beat­en by a group of sol­diers dur­ing the 2011 State of Emer­gency. In May, LaVende re­ceived $160,000 from the State over the in­ci­dent.

“My brain does be mal­func­tion­ing…The mem­o­ries does come and go,” LaVende said.

LaVende al­so claimed that he rent­ed a pirogue to George to trans­port his work­ers for six months and that the ves­sel re­quired over $23,000 in re­pairs when it was even­tu­al­ly re­turned.

In his ev­i­dence, George de­nied most of LaVende’s claims. George claimed that he ini­tial­ly agreed to pur­chase the en­gine but re­versed the sale af­ter his cap­tain test­ed it and it failed to start. He claimed that he asked LaVende to col­lect the en­gine the fol­low­ing day, but he on­ly did so sev­er­al months lat­er.

George al­so de­nied that LaVende ser­viced four tanks, in­stead claim­ing that it was one that re­quired clean­ing and the agreed price was $5,000.

Quizzed by LaVende’s lawyer Matthew Gayle over his claim in his de­fence to the case that LaVende did not per­form any work, George ad­mit­ted it was an er­ror.

George al­so de­nied rent­ing the pirogue and claimed that it sus­tained the dam­age as LaVende would fre­quent­ly aban­don it on the jet­ty in Sea Lots near to his ship. George claimed that un­known per­sons, who com­man­deered the ves­sel, caused the dam­age.

There were sev­er­al in­con­sis­ten­cies be­tween George’s ev­i­dence and that of his cap­tain Jim­my Fer­gu­son.

While George claimed that he sold the boat to a com­pa­ny from Guyana, sev­er­al years ago, Fer­gu­son claimed that George is still the own­er and he is still em­ployed by him.

George al­so con­tend­ed that his ves­sel nev­er went past Port-of-Spain on his cruis­es, how­ev­er, Fer­gu­son claimed that it made reg­u­lar jour­neys to Ch­aguara­mas.

As he was be­ing quizzed by Aboud over the test he per­formed on the en­gine, Fer­gu­son ad­mit­ted that it was not con­nect­ed to a fu­el source and was ly­ing on its side.

In de­liv­er­ing judg­ment, Aboud or­dered George to pay the bal­ance on the en­gine as well as the six-month rental of the pirogue at a rate of $300 per day.

He al­so or­dered George to pay for the re­pairs to the pirogue and $20,000 for clean­ing the four tanks based on the rate that George pre­vi­ous­ly ac­cept­ed.

George was al­so or­dered to cov­er LaVende’s le­gal costs for bring­ing the law­suit.

George was rep­re­sent­ed by Pe­ter Tay­lor while Ker­ri­na Samdeo ap­peared along­side Gayle for LaVende.