The Parliamentary Representative for Barbuda Trevor Walker has threatened to take action against the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) if it continues to delay the reconnection of electricity to residents on the sister isle.
Walker did not say what form his action would take, but he lamented that almost two years after Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, hundreds of homes are still without power.
“If this was in Antigua there would be picketing and riots because how can you tell people in Gray’s Farm or even English Harbour that after two years you cannot provide them with electricity?” Walker said
He added that he will no longer accept the “lame” excuses by APUA, and accused the State-owned utilities provider of trivializing the issue of electricity in Barbuda.
“All the doctors and the nurses in Barbuda have no power going on two years. That cannot be right or acceptable. When you think about that, it’s overwhelming,” Walker said.
Members of the Barbuda Council met with APUA last November to discuss this very issue.
The APUA representatives at that meeting said they were doing everything possible to expedite the process.
Meantime, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of APUA, Sharifa George, said the utilities company is not willfully withholding electricity from residents on Barbuda.
In fact, she told OBSERVER media, the company is facing challenges with manpower.
“We have a team of 17 people employed at APUA Barbuda who have a lot to do and they are all working to ensure all services are delivered,” she said.
Another challenge, according to George, is that a number of residents have been asked to rewire their homes because some structures are “just not ready” to be reconnected.
“You have persons who have been inspected two or three times before they pass, so that delays things.”
APUA is also experiencing some challenges in communicating with Barbudans, according to the company’s PRO.