submitted by old todd
For the past four months – not “a few weeks” as said by The Nation newspaper – businesses, restaurants and hotels have been devastated by the failure of the Barbados Government to deliver sufficient natural gas. Every industry using natural gas has been impacted, right from biscuit maker WIBISCO that lost 60% production and 50% of export sales in December, to restaurants and hotels along the west and south coasts forced to close or suffer tourist cancellations.
The harm to our tourism and manufacturing sectors will not be over when the shortage ends. It will take a year or more to regain the confidence of tourists and business customers who were directly impacted.
The government and the National Petroleum Corporation are portraying this as the failure of two wells – something that could not have been foreseen. What rot!
The truth is that Barbados has been running too close to the line for years, with known insufficient reserves and weaknesses in the distribution system. There was no surprise – this has been coming for years as predicted by industry pundits.
So now that the crisis is here, government is taking steps to import the machinery and perform repairs that should have been done years ago. That is only a stop-gap until new wells and natural gas imports can be arranged for.
And we have no money.
Government made decisions to withhold spending on distribution system maintenance and improvement. Government made decisions every year for the past seven to lower natural gas reserves and to sail closer to the disaster zone, counting on luck and hope that we would have enough gas to get through the busy tourist high season.
That was a decision and it was the wrong decision. Now the country is paying.
Barbados Today: Toppin: Deal with natural gas shortage
Nation News: Hoteliers told to get back-up energy
Nation News: Biscuit Blues