Barbados natural gas stoppage: Government lapdog Nation newspaper blames hotels, restaurants, bakeries for “lack of business continuity planning”

Dog eats garbage

New Bajan tourism attraction: Dog eats garbage

by Passin Thru

In true Bajan and Caribbean “Island Time” style, a Nation newspaper editorial says that no one should be blamed or sacked for the disastrous stoppage of natural gas these past three weeks during the Christmas and New Years season.

The Nation says that those businesses, restaurants, hotels and other natural gas users are the problem. They foolishly didn’t have a backup plan and necessary technologies in place to prepare three meals a day for thousands of tourists for several weeks of outages.

Who wrote that editorial? Such foolishness from presumably an adult. They must be high on drugs or from another planet.

And what of the DLP Government’s failing to keep the gas flowing? Here’s what the suck-well Nation has to say about the government’s role in the crisis:

“The efforts of the Minister of Commerce, Donville Inniss, to personally interact with both the NPC and affected businesses, were very commendable.”

Fabulous! Government Minister Donville Pornville Inniss went about the place talking! What a fabulous job, Pornville, just fabulous!

Perhaps if Minister Inniss and his government paid the VAT refunds owed to business within say, a year of request, those businesses might be able to buy a gas grill or thirty to sit waiting “just in case” the government can’t deliver natural gas for a month in tourist high season? Should the hotels do the same with drinking water too? A month’s worth for 500 people?

Such foolishness.

And then there is the garbage problem… 

Couple the natural gas disaster with the government’s failure to pick up garbage on time, if at all, and you have the makings of a disastrous beginning to tourism for 2015. The place is starting to stink and all Environment Minister Denis Lowe can do is to make jokes for the press cameras. Over half the garbage trucks our out of service because of needed repairs. At Grape Hall and all over the island the flies are working overtime worrying the garbage properly placed for collection two weeks ago. It’s worse than back in 2011 when we went six weeks with no garbage pickup.

Say what you will about the Barbados Labour Party – Arthur and his gang were corrupt, but at least they could keep the hotel and restaurant kitchens operational, and pick up the garbage.

Editor’s note: You should go to the Nation News to read their editorial, but because that rag so often changes history, we have to print the entire piece here as part of our critical, fair use of their work:

EDITORIAL: Petroleum Corp. alone not to blame

The Nation

THE INABILITY of the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) to provide a consistent supply of natural gas to its customers, particularly commercial operators, in recent weeks would have caught many off guard, particularly at this time of the year.

The delivery of natural gas has been a highly reliable service over many years, so neither the supplier nor the users may have contemplated the existing situation.

That the disruption has been a protracted one should have sent an early warning signal to many businesses that depend on this service as a critical component of their operations. With many experiencing enhanced demand for their goods and services during December, nothing ought to have been left to chance.

But it is clear that there has been a lack of preparedness for the fallout from such an eventuality, given the desperate cries.

Given its inability to rectify the issue within a few days, the NPC should have rolled out its crisis management plan provided there is one in place. As the sole provider of natural gas, the NPC must know its clientele and their demands, especially during the hectic December period.

There should have been consistent communications and recommendations on how best customers could overcome the challenges. The efforts of the Minister of Commerce, Donville Inniss, to personally interact with both the NPC and affected businesses, were very commendable.

The NPC must recognise that its customers cannot make excuses to their clients about not giving timely service, and it must be aware of the impact of its supplies to manufacturing enterprises which sustain hundreds of jobs and earn foreign exchange.

Equally, the damage done to big and small businesses which can incur losses in their processes, such as the case of WIBISCO and small bakeries, must be understood by the gas supplier.

It is only in circumstances where there is an act of God that excuses can be tolerated. Unfortunately, the NPC is not a regulated public utility under the Fair Trading Commission.

However, all the blame cannot be shouldered alone by the NPC. The situation highlights serious gaps in issues such as disaster mitigation, poor risk management and a lack of business continuity planning, particularly on the part of some of the affected hotels and restaurants.

While the challenges of having an alternate energy supply may present a major issue for a large operation such as WIBISCO, this is not so for the other enterprises. The situation raises concerns as to whether they are equipped with back-up systems in case there is a prolonged man-made problem or natural disaster. It would be reasonable to query whether they can meet demands for water and electricity should these services be disrupted.

Consigning blame is not the answer. Rather, there has to be an alternative plan in place.

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9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business, Economy, Energy, Environment

9 responses to “Barbados natural gas stoppage: Government lapdog Nation newspaper blames hotels, restaurants, bakeries for “lack of business continuity planning”

  1. Party Animal

    How can people that suppose to be living in a real world make such stupid remarks.
    How can we run out or low on natural gas ? something big got to be wrong..
    The well dried up ?

  2. Wily Coyote

    Barbados is OUT OF NATURAL GAS, supply gone, the politicians and National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) are once again lying through their teeth and trying not to alarm the users. Blame the customers.

    The question that needs to be asked is — how muck oil/gas is presently being produced from Barbados wells, my guess is not much if any. If Barbados has to start importing Natural Gas and Propane then they have a serious short/long term supply problem as the infrastructure is not in place.

    Just another Government F_ _ K UP.

  3. gentlejim

    UNBELIEVABLE ! But expect more in 2015

  4. yatinkiteasy

    A few years ago I was thinking of getting a car converted to run on natural gas. However, my research showed that Barbados reserves of this product were very low, and there was little or no chance of improving it. So I dashed the project. I had no idea that the West Coast Restaurants and Hotels were depending on NG as their source of cooking fuel.They should rethink and reinvest..it is not sustainable.

  5. no worries man

    there is enough BULLSHIT around they they can use as fuel.

  6. Not business as usual please

    It is uncertain what to believe on the gas problem and NPC explanations. One doesn’t think government is trying to hoodwink the populace but they should unequivocally clear the air. What is the factual status of our onshore gas reserves, simple. Dr. Estwick a man who rants that he keeps his word told us a natural gas pipe line would be in place (or being laid) from Trinidad to Barbados by 2013 this is 2015. The goodly doctor may have been speaking from the information in front of him. Keen observers though knew there is no way in hell Trinidad was sending any natural gas to Barbados to make this island more competitive against TnT products.

    The more pragmatic approach is to be more proactive to the on and off move to find oil and gas offshore. That search must begin yesterday. It is very annoying to hear the Minister of Finance every six months say the prospects are promising and he or the PM will be signing a deal with HP Billington or some drilling company soon. Then nothing happens and he repeats the same thing six months later. If we cant undertake a project say so clearly up front and Bajans will understand. Its the ongoing uncertainty and on and off pronouncements on projects that rankles. We know the government is in an economic headlock so we don’t expect miracles.

    The opposition and the government detractors are completely clueless and in disarray so the government doesn’t have to worry too much about them. The government must level with the people on projects like the off shore gas quest. They will be supported as long as the people understand the true pictures.

  7. StarBoy

    Barbados experience a natural outages and low pressures from November 28th 2014
    This is the same day when Sandals started their operations and testing their modern equipment
    up to now no one asked what equipment Sandals has behind their gated/closed walls

    is Sandals on the electric Grid?
    is Sandals generating its own electricity by using natural gas turbines and generators?
    Also WIBISCO has another oven, a bigger oven, to fulfil their contract to bake all the Bermudez Biscuits in the Caribbean.
    The Crane has a new refrigeration unit, powered by natural gas
    Banks use natural gas for its operations
    Chefette use natural gas for its operations
    RL Seales / The Rum Factory use natural gas for its operations
    many hotels and restaurant use natural gas for their operations, but Sandals is the major user of natural gas and it was mandated by the ministers that Sandals be given all the resources they need without interruptions

  8. Konkieman

    I think the time is right now for BDOS to look at putting in a LNG terminal. Like the two in Puerto Rico and the Dom. Rep. Not only will it ensure domestic gas supply, but can be used by BL&P for generation instead of oil.

    And the gas comes from TT, right round the corner. I could never figure out why this was not done donkey years ago.

  9. Colonel Buggy

    There may be no need to panic. During the course of oil exploration over the many years, many of the “oil-less’ wells did yield natural gas, and I assumed that they were all capped, and not utilised, as they were off the beaten track of the Natural Gas grid pipe lines. These may be our reserves.