Essequibo in blackout – again

Dear Editor,

The residents of the entire Essequibo Coast are without electricity since 4 am this morning (Thursday). My last letter offered restrained praise to the crew which had restored power recently, and for good reason, but the blackout returned to paralyze the entire region.

I am not quite sure how this has not yet made the news, for Essequibo is not as isolated and prehistoric as sometimes it is misconceived to be. We, like everyone else, have unremitting access to NCN, for one; that state entity has us covered (by whatever agenda). Thus, I was hoping the news of this fiasco would have made headlines. Come on, Stabroek News, do you not think that 24 odd hours of blackout is worthy of some coverage? Private businesses, particularly supermarkets, were strangled yet again today, counting damage to goods and other losses, while government institutions, already plagued with festering bureaucracy, and heavily dependent on electricity, were affected. At this hour (8 pm), I empathize with those students who are possibly intent on completing assignments now for tomorrow – assignments which may have required online research.

Not only will this disaster provide these young people with excuses for not completing work, but it will also grant them an opportunity (albeit a tortuous one) to experience the gloom and incompetence of yesteryear which their parents possibly voted to eliminate. They will understand what it means to literally burn the midnight oil, but more importantly, how pregnant with truth this statement is: “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Were the failure of GPL not so ubiquitous, these kids might have readily agreed that Essequibo – Cinderella county – is deserving of negative stereotypes.

It is my understanding that at this very moment, engineers from Georgetown and Trinidad are working to rectify the fault, which by this time, can be deduced as an embarrassment. Here in Essequibo we are smugly confident that power will be restored tomorrow, Friday, and last uninterrupted, at least to Saturday. Why? Because an important government spectacle will open tomorrow evening – the annual Essequibo Nite fanfare. Visitors, notably the dignitaries to the region cannot be doomed to blackout of any duration, certainly not one lasting more than 24 hours, for that would be tantamount to disrespect and lack of appreciation (most incongruous in a season of Appreciation). The show must go on, and GPL has to be operational, for if it is not, the deficiencies of the political speeches will become apparent. There is no chance of that happening, not in elections season and in a PPP stronghold.

For visitors, Essequibo Nite will be orchestrated as a resplendent event, and the region will be showcased as thriving, progressive and flourishing. I can imagine how rapturous and impressed some would be when they see the lofty speakers blaring music, the decorated booths displaying goods of progress, and the ivory grins laminated among fashionable clothes. For those who reside here though, and who are conscientious enough to maintain objectivity, Essequibo is already in night – an artificial one imposed by a dysfunctional state entity, the symptom of the trickle-down effect of incompetence from higher rungs.

Thursday, 8.40 pm. Blackout.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

Editor’s note
GPL issued a press release which we carried in our edition yesterday. Among other things, the release explained the outages on Sunday, Monday and Thursday (the last, it said, was caused by the failure of a circuit breaker).

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