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With 114 blackouts in East Berbice so far for 2009, there needs to be an investigation into the operations of the Canefield Power Station

Dear Editor,

All does not seem to be well at the Canefield Power Station. A few days ago I sat down with a current employee there, who made various allegations in relation to the operations at the power station, including poor management.

Just maybe the GPL top brass and the government are not aware of some 108 blackouts to date in the Berbice area. Just what is going on? Has GPL not been telling the public the entire truth as to the problems being experienced? Canefield recently printed an advertisement in the newspapers apologizing for the blackouts on the final weekend in June. This situation is getting more mysterious. What are the Chambers of Commerce in Berbice doing? I would like to suggest that they get off their behinds and openly ask for the answers we Berbicians seek! Not one word of complaint and dissatisfaction has been heard from the New Amsterdam, Central Corentyne or Upper Corentyne Chambers of Commerce about the recent spate of blackouts Berbicians have been facing.

Finally, I had to laugh the other day when I read about another fantasy GPL wants to fulfil to alleviate the power problems in Guyana: merging the transmission and distribution systems in Demerara and Berbice. This is another promise of a better day in electricity delivery to Guyanese, which raised its head in the form of the latest idea – Amaila Falls. This hydropower project, just like Skeldon Modernization Power Plant (which was supposed to have been powering the entire Berbice and exporting power to the rest of the grid) is another pappy show in the making.

If this government has one shred of decency left, they would mandate a commission of inquiry into the Canefield Power Station – not tomorrow, not the next day, not next month but now!

Since the above was written, there is a dire power crisis brewing in East Berbice once again. East Berbicians were in complete darkness from around 11 pm Monday night until around 6 pm Tuesday evening, recording some 19 hours of blackout. GPL has since put a notice on the TV stating that a cooling water pump had developed electrical and mechanical faults. They have since stated that the situation was made worse because one of the main generators at Canefield had been disabled due to an “electrical fault in the alternator itself.”

Editor, we, the residents of Cumberland Village, have not been receiving water since Saturday of last week. The situation is similar in several villages across East and West Berbice which receive water from electrically powered wells. GWI has stated that unless GPL provides a satisfactory voltage, the well at Cumberland will not operate. A resident of Woodley Park on the West Coast of Berbice has informed me that they have not been getting water since some time last week.

Further, frustrated as I was today (Tuesday), I made contact with some media colleagues in Berbice and do you know what the general response to my question about doing articles on the power crisis and blackouts in Berbice were? That it would be waste of time and that the blackouts would still continue. My God, I was amazed, if the media aren’t willing to speak out and expose this atrocity being committed by GPL on Berbicians, then who would? Therefore, we Berbicians must continue to suffer due to our cowardice and spinelessness in relation to speaking out. In addition to the amount previously stated, there now have been 114 blackouts in East Berbice so far for 2009.

Yours faithfully,
Leon Jameson Suseran