Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
Two Thursdays ago, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, made the arguably ridiculous and laughable claim that the management of the Guyana Power and Light Inc. (GPL) – under the control of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) regime – has nothing to do with the current (or lack of current) state of unpredictable, daily blackouts in Guyana. Guyanese certainly must wonder if the minister was serious, or if he was joking. He must have been joking.
The PPP minister said, “Many times, persons say that the management at GPL [controlled by the PPP regime] are (sic) incompetent because of challenges such as blackouts or other known shortcomings. I believe these individuals [at GPL] are qualified and they know their job. These issues we are experiencing are way beyond the control of management.”
While this publication will not dwell on the fact that the PPP regime is quick to take credit for any little good thing that happens in Guyana, but hastens to distance itself from the horrific results of gross mismanagement, one wonders who is to blame for the blackouts? After all, the PPP regime controls everything, so, who is to be blamed?
This publication will not even mention the fact that the PPP – many observers have said – has appointed its unqualified, undereducated cronies, friends and acolytes to lead key agencies, including GPL. Nor will it be mentioned that many analysts have said that observers have posited that Guyana is being run like a “friends and family plantation” by the PPP. Instead, let us examine the effects of these inexcusable power outages on the lives of ordinary people who cannot afford automatic generators – such the Pradoville people can enjoy.
Guyanese know that blackouts have become the new norm under the rule of the PPP. These frequent, unpredictable disruptions not only affect the daily routines of ordinary Guyanese, but also have major adverse effects on their personal belongings, the economy, and overall quality of life.
For example, it is well known that the frequent power outages cause significant damage to electronic devices. When the power supply is abruptly cut off by GPL, it can lead to power surges whenever the electricity is restored. These surges, engineers say, can damage sensitive components in phones, computers, and household appliances for which Guyanese have spent their hard earned money, rendering the appliances inoperable or reducing their lifespan. Repairing or replacing these devices can be costly, particularly for individuals with limited financial resources – which would be the majority of Guyanese. And everybody knows that there is no compensation for such damages.
Blackouts also disrupt the daily activities of Guyanese citizens. Without electricity, households are left without the ability to carry out basic tasks. Lack of power affects cooking, refrigeration, and everything else, leading to inconvenience and potential health hazards. Students may struggle to study without internet access, and professionals may face hardships in meeting work deadlines, resulting in low productivity.
Blackouts can have severe consequences for healthcare services. Think about it: hospitals and clinics heavily rely on electricity to power medical equipment, refrigerate medications, and maintain a sterile environment. Blackouts certainly jeopardise patient care, delay surgeries, and compromise the storage of vital medicines. Additionally, individuals who rely on medical devices at home – such as breathing machines – may face life-threatening situations during blackouts.
The economy of Guyana also suffers due to frequent power outages because industries, businesses, and manufacturing operations heavily depend on a stable power supply to operate properly. Power disruptions, of course, lead to decreased productivity, and financial losses. Furthermore, businesses may need to invest in backup power sources, such as generators, increasing operational costs.
Guyana’s overbearing blackouts have a horrible effect on education. Schools rely on electricity for teaching aids, computer labs, and internet connectivity. When power outages happen so frequently and for such long periods, schools may be forced to suspend classes, leading to a loss of valuable instructional time. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may not have access to alternative learning resources – such as private lessons – are particularly affected. What does Minister of Education Priya Manickchand say to that?
Living with frequent and prolonged blackouts is no joke; it can have psychological and social consequences. Constant uncertainty about when the power will be restored by the PPP controlled GPL can lead to stress, anxiety, and frustration. Everybody knows that. Furthermore, social gatherings, recreational activities, and community events, and even funerals are being disrupted.
The fact is, these frequent, prolonged, unpredictable, unacceptable blackouts are having profound effects on Guyanese of all all ages. And it has to stop.
The PPP regime is saying that the blame does not lie with GPL; would Minster Deodat Indar please tell us who is responsible – if not the PPP regime? Would government please say who will pay for our damaged phones, computers and fridges? Will the PPP government tell Guyanese who will be held responsible when babies and senior Guyanese die because breathing machines shut down for lack of electricity in our country that is pouring out oil by millions of barrels every day? Would the PPP please tell us who – other than the PPP regime – is responsible for engineering the blackouts?