Donald Ramotar and Sam Hinds are making people’s lives miserable in Region 9
…major shakeup in management
Lethem, in Region Nine, is facing hours of extended blackout because of problems with its Caterpillar engine.
According to residents there, the area which is the main entry point for Brazilians, is receiving as little as six hours electricity daily.
Last Saturday, amidst increasing complaints over the state of the government owned power company there, a new Board of Directors was installed by Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds.
The new directors include Chairman and Engineer, Christopher Moses; Engineer and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Perry Silverious, William Tony, Desmond Kissoon, Horace William, Divisional Director of GPL, Colin Singh, and National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) representative, Purnadram Chamdaban.
During a meeting between the Prime Minister and his delegation and residents at the Arapaima Primary School, there were complaints over fuel shortage and extended periods of blackouts because of a generation shortfall.
A recent month-long protest over electricity hikes in Linden, Region 10, had virtually cut-off fuel supplies to the Lethem power plant, compounding the woes of residents in that border community.
Authorities were forced to source fuel at a higher cost from Brazil and there were days when the load-shedding lasted as much as 17-hours a day.
The situation has now worsened after the Caterpillar generator, because of poor maintenance and overwork, went down.
The engine was borrowed from Guyana Power Light (GPL) in 2009, for the opening of the Takatu Bridge which links Guyana and Brazil.
However, an older engine that was damaged in the 2011 floods is being serviced with the aim of having it replace the damaged Caterpillar.
The erratic power has also affected the supply of potable water from Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI).
“People got their toilets full up for hours and there is no water available to flush because of the situation,” one resident said.
At the Arapaima Primary School, residents questioned the Prime Minister about the possible renovation of the Moco-Moco hydro-plant which would be a more reliable source of electricity. However, the Prime Minister noted that such a project would cost $80-$100M to renovate. Residents, however, are saying that with the injection of fuel and maintenance of the generators at the Lethem Power Company, eventually a price of $100M would be surpassed and with fuel prices climbing, it would be wise to reconsider the Moco-Moco project.
The older engine that was damaged in the 2011 floods. Government is hoping to have it repaired.
Residents also expressed anger at suggestions of an eventual raise in the electricity tariff in Lethem.