Statement from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, today, Tuesday, November 19, 2019, on the on-going electricity generating challenges of the Barbados Light & Power Company.
Good morning, Barbadians. I wanted to address you this morning because it’s clear that this country is experiencing an unacceptable loss of power across the entire island.
As I speak to you this morning, some of the feeder stations are in fact back up and some of them have also allowed us to be able to restore the pumps at the Belle, and I’m told that the power at Ionics has also been restored, but that they are now checking before they go fully back online.
Our first concern as a government is the security and well-being of the people of Barbados. We have, therefore, ensured that we have done all in our power, from as late as yesterday afternoon and into today, to make sure that Barbadians are safe, and the law enforcement authorities are taking care of that.
With respect to access to water, we are working on that and where those pumping stations cannot be brought back up, we are ensuring that there is the deployment of the water trucks in the order of priority that they are needed.
Similarly, as I said, because the Belle is back up, and because Ionics will shortly be back up, we expect most of the island to have access to water today, as long as the power can be stabilized there.
With respect to the schools, the Minister of Education has already issued an instruction this morning for the shutdown of schools because we did not want to bring children back into that environment again, especially given the instability of the power situation and the water situation.
With respect to the hospital, the airport, the seaport, the prison and all of the other critical institutions, I can inform the country that all of our power generation capacity is working and that we will ensure that we stick to normalcy as close as possible.
I have already asked the management of the (Barbados) Light & Power, to ensure as a matter of urgency, that the Chairman of BL&P, the Chairman of Emera in Barbados Light & Power, be available to meet with me this evening, because this is an unacceptable situation.
Now is not the time to complain, because we have to make sure that we have full stability before we get to that. And we have more than enough time to determine blame, to determine responsibility and to determine all of the other things that are going through people’s heads.
Now is the time for Barbadians to be calm and to ensure that if you don’t need to be on the road, do not go on the road; to ensure that if you have family who may be living alone, that you check on them and make sure that they are well.
The Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs has already been speaking to get that message across the country to ensure that any critical tasks that have to be done, that we go about them seamlessly, knowing full well that we are going to resolve this issue.
It is unacceptable and embarrassing, but in life we don’t get to choose the circumstances or the hand that we play. Sometimes we get the hand and we have, therefore, to rise to the occasion and do what is necessary.
I have every confidence in Barbadians and in our ability to rise to the occasion, for we are a resilient people and that we will face any challenge and we shall overcome all challenges.
At this point in time, rest assured that your country is safe. Rest assured that we are doing all that we can to make sure that while we wait for BL&P to resolve this issue, that we will do our part to make sure that Barbadians can continue to go as much as possible about their business, and where that it is not possible, that they remain safe and comfortable.
I want to thank those of you who have reached out and offered your support and assistance, but recognize that at this stage I am not an engineer — we are not engineers — so we will await your word as to how a country can have all of its generating capacity down at the same time. It is inexplicable to me, and I trust that this evening when I meet with the chairman, that we will have all of these answers. Rest assured that the Government is taking its own independent advice in these matters.
So, my friend, this is not the morning that we wanted, but this is the morning that we have. And we shall rise to the occasion. We shall look out for each other. We shall keep each other safe. And we shall ensure that if there are any matters that are of critical concern, please advise the persons closest to you. I have advised all Ministers and Members of Parliament to be on the ground in their constituencies today so that they too can also respond as far as possible.
Thank you and God bless. And I will speak to the Nation again as required. Thank you very much.