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?
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 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.