The floodwaters have receded from Lethem and life has slowly begun getting back to normal. Even the badly deteriorated Georgetown-Lethem road has been back in use, albeit under very tough conditions. But trucks, minibuses and other vehicles have resumed travel.
There is however one aspect of life that has not returned to normal, and that is the full electricity supply. Lethem and its environs still receive only eighteen hours of electricity per day. When things were critical the reduced electricity supply was a welcome compromise that the residents made. The reason for the reduction was that the Lethem Power Company (LPC) was conserving on its fuel stocks. But now that vehicles have resumed traversing the road there must be every possibility for sufficient fuel to reach LPC.
Lethem has had good weather for the past two weeks and the roads were reopened nearly a week ago. So why is there still only eighteen hours of electricity? It seems that the LPC is not making the extra effort to ensure fuel arrives at its location.
All businesses providing a service to Lethem have had to make extra sacrifices to ensure that their products reach Lethem. The fuel suppliers have hired trucks and tractors to shuttle their fuel. The trucks that are bringing rations from Georgetown have had to endure longer periods on the road, but they were all successful in getting through, so why is LPC still not providing the required service? Can’t they also make the additional sacrifice to get their fuel supplies into Lethem to restore normalcy?
Our government should be playing a bigger role in ensuring that Lethem is not unduly affected during these difficult times. After all they must be fully blamed for the Lethem road deteriorating so badly. They had ample knowledge that the road was deteriorating but they dallied on the remedial works which resulted in its present condition.
They should now be subsidizing the additional costs that are being incurred due to the condition of the road.
What about the immediate future of Lethem? Our rainy season has only now begun and we have already faced so many problems. Are we prepared if another episode of flooding arrives? Do we have enough fuel and rations? What about emergency supplies to aid affected people? Is our electricity company now fully capable of operating during floods? Have sufficient stocks of rations and fuel been sent to the outlying villages to ensure that they are adequately prepared?
One only hopes that our authorities are not resting on their laurels and just assuming that the floods would not return.
It is also time that the LPC gets its act together and returns full electricity to Lethem.
The residents are willing to compromise in the trying times but not when a better service can be provided.
(Name and address provided)