Government has vowed to do all in its power to bring back stability and normalcy to Barbados after two days of extensive power outages.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley expressed this commitment to the country last night, after a 90-minute meeting with a team from Emera and Barbados Light and Power, led by Chief Operating Officer and Chair of the Board for Emera Caribbean and Barbados, Rick Janega; as well as public officials.
During the press briefing, Ms. Mottley said: “This Government will not accept anything less than absolute resilience and redundancy in the provision of power to the people of this nation. We have worked too hard as a Government over the course of the last 18 months to stabilize this nation…. This country has worked too hard; you have given up too much as Bajans for us now to be impaired in this manner and we have all agreed that we will work beyond the call of duty to stabilize the situation.
“This Government must give…everyone the comfort that the things to which we have become accustomed with respect to access to light, water and all other basic services…must be returned to normalcy and standards that become the envy of not just the region but the world. Our Government will work to make sure that happens.”
The Prime Minister said the BL&P would be bringing in teams from as far as Korea to assist in dealing with the issues.
She stated that additional generating capacity was required and the BL&P officials would have to make a decision on that matter, which would give the country the comfort of an additional, at minimum, 30 megawatts of power.
She said her team expressed their views frankly and respectfully to the BL&P during the meeting. She explained that this was a critical time in the country’s development, and disclosed that there were investors on island who were keen to build two hotels, including the Hyatt.
“We have shared our perspective as a Government with the Barbados Light & Power and they have agreed in principle that we will work together,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley thanked the Barbados Water Authority officials, who were in attendance at the meeting, for procuring 11 generators.
“If we didn’t have them the situation…would have been far worse. And they must now expedite and continue the acquisition of the additional generating capacity.
“We do not believe that after 53 years of Independence, that we must have a situation where our water supply is completely dependent on our power supply. In today’s world, where we have the ability to have renewable energy and batteries, with the cost of battery supplies going down, we should have independent power supply for the water stations,” she insisted.
The Prime Minister noted that a sub-committee of public officials, who would represent Government, had been set up so the BL&P officials could report on any challenges.
“We will not wait for a day or two to pass to find out that we have issues. We have agreed that there must be continuous dialogue,” she maintained.
The committee members are: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Francine Blackman; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works, Maintenance and Transport, Mark Cummins; Consultant/Advisor to the Government of Barbados on water, energy and climate change matters, Dr. Hugh Sealy; and Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados National Oil Company, James Browne.
Those attending the meeting and press briefing included Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development, George Payne; Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Wilfred Abrahams; and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott.