September marks the fourth month since the Lethem Power Company (LPC) decided to institute a reduced electricity supply to Lethem and its environs on the grounds that it was difficult to get a reliable supply of fuel for its generator due to the rainy season and the deteriorating GT-Lethem road.
This situation is now getting totally unacceptable as it seems that LPC has no intention of returning to supplying the regular electricity service even though the GT-Lethem road has long reopened to traffic and the fuel supply should have returned to normal.
Is there a deeper reason why the Lethem community continues to have this rationed electricity supply? Are we being punished for some unseen reason? Or is it simply that the management of the LPC is incapable of managing its operations in an efficient manner? It seems as though the rainy season and bad roads were simply excuses to return Lethem to its previous state of limited electricity. The question to be asked is why?
Where is the management of LPC or the regional administration or even the government? Shouldn’t they at least have the decency to provide the people of Lethem with a reason/s why we still have to be faced with this shortage? Is fuel still in short supply? If so, why? The road is no longer impassable and the rains have stopped so these cannot be the reasons. Is LPC being held to ransom by the fuel supplier? If so, can’t the management put alternative arrangements in place? Is there a financial reason? Could it be that LPC is not sustainable? If so, are any plans in place to correct this defect?
Our government often goes public and announces that Lethem is the hub of its supposed development plan for our country. Yet for every positive step that is taken in this area, we seem to be doomed to many negative ones which effectively cancel out our development. A reliable source of electricity is arguably the main prerequisite for any proper development to take place. Imagine all those business people that invested in Lethem assuming that they would have had a reliable electricity supply, only to be faced with this present shortcoming.
It is time that Lethem says enough is enough and start getting LPC to operate like a professional utility that is expected to provide an efficient service to the people. Well-known businesswoman Ms Linda Khan had to arrange an impromptu protest for LPC to restore electricity after the floods. This was again another instance of LPC shunning its responsibilities. It took a public outcry for the matter to be resolved. Should we go along this route again for our concerns to be addressed and remedied?
It is disappointing that the two main daily newspapers, Kaieteur and Stabroek News, have reporters residing in Lethem yet neither have deemed this issue important enough to warrant some investigative journalism (Ed note: SN has no reporter stationed in Lethem). They are urged to reconsider and at least make some information available to the public.
Lethem needs to have it 24-hour electricity restored. We have gone forward as a community and this present situation is a major backward step.
The onus is on our government, which thought it best to develop our area, to ensure that this development continues. If there are regressions then the people become upset and protest the conditions. We look forward to their intervention and a return to normalcy of the electricity supply in Lethem.
(Name and address provided)