Welcome

Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shocking News: Barbadians Living In The Dark Ages.

No, walking the plank is not going to be brought in to deal with those errant PSV owners and drivers. Bajans are just enjoying walking by moonlight along the new Hastings boardwalk.

But, God's own island and the land that time has not forgotten was brought to its knees yesterday morning by another island-wide power outage. No! Barbados getting too Caribbean, you hear. Dis is not Jamayka! This is not Guyana, but see how the Guyanese are destroying the island.

I was out having my customary breakfast in the overcast sunlight of St. George's and I saw the line for cappuccinos lengthening. Hmm. Then I heard, "Power gone, man" So, for an uncomfortable half hour or so the late comers and second cuppers had to weather this non-electrical storm. The lines were long because the lines were down.

So, I zipped off to tackle my friendly telephone company, LIME, at their Sheraton hideaway. On the way my radio crackled and I heard a man impersonating a monkey, "It wasn't me. Not this time." Monkeying about on the lines was a famous previous reason. These crazy hip hoppers. Wait a minute. I listened again. Island-wide power outage? Oh, dear. I made a quick call to my dear one and explained that my business might be delayed. I guess that a lot of people did not know what was going on except that they had no power. We have gas stoves at home so cooking is not an issue, but you soon start to worry about the fridge and freezer.

I get to the mall. Everyone was wandering around the car park. LIME's doors were locked and the store was pitch black. I looked inside the food court and saw a few people licking ice creams. Food servers were sitting in front of their stores with no one to serve and nothing else to do. I could almost see the GDP numbers falling. I asked at LIME what was the deal: "We open 30 minutes after the power comes back," was the reply I got after three times of asking. I struck up a conversation with a woman talking to herself--she did not need me--and a Jamaican-Bajan couple, whose children were touting for money. We made a lot of sport about how Jamaicans would have been beating down the place or worse by now. Bajans just stood calmly, waiting for Godot.

Twenty minutes later, about 10.15, power came back. Pizza ovens flamed. LIME lights were on again and we grumpy customers started to pull our tickets and wait our turn; I was first in line.

This is the third island-wide outage in two years (two prior in June and August 2008; before that none before 2006). I have lived here for two years. DLP have been in power (oops) since early 2008. Is there a connection? Sorry, again. Clearly no electrical connection. Geddit? Shocking. We need to know the truth.

BL&P tell us that two steam turbines tripped at the Spring Garden generating station. Their chief marketing officer, Stephen Worme (where do they get these names?) in effect said no need to worry, "over the past few years overall reliability of our system has ... improved. Reducing the number of outages and the length of outages has improved over the last couple of years." I kid you not, that's what he is reported to have said. Will someone please check these people for substance abuse.

1 comment:

Waterboy said...

The correlation you ask about may have some validity... Prior to 2008 it seemed that Barbados was the gem of the Caribbean with reliable utility services -- much needed to support a Tourist based economy... Over the last year it seems that reliability of water supply, electricity, and even phone landline service has taken a detour. Granted the bus service has improved... If BIM does not get back on the right road with regard to Reliable Utility services it will loose one of it's competitive advantages as a tourist destination. Having water trucks supplying Tourist is not the way to go... The tap is preferred