The manager of the Electricity Business Unit at Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) says the deadline for restoration of electricity on the sister isle, as stipulated by Member of Parliament Trevor Walker, is not feasible.
However Andre Matthias told OBSERVER media that he’s working in tandem with the Barbuda Council by assisting where he believes the process could be accelerated.
“The deadline of two weeks though … I take that in a positive sense. Some people have been saying ‘you know why is Mr. Walker giving us a deadline when they could be doing more as far as the Council is concerned’; but I am hoping now that the deadline – let’s call it a deadline – has been given, that the Council will step up and give some assistance.
“I have no intent in going to war with the Council because we have to work with them. When you hear about these deadlines and you know nothing is happening in Barbuda it would be nice to get some more assistance. We are challenged in Barbuda.”
Walker — who is also the leader of the Barbuda Peoples Movement (BPM) and a member of the Barbuda Council – issued the deadline last week, giving APUA until the end of February to fully restore electricity to Barbuda.
Although it has been almost a year and six months since Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, and with hundreds of homes still without electricity, Matthias sought to give an explanation on the said delays.
He added that it was merely due to time taken to ensure things are done the right way and to protect the safety of the Barbudans.
“To add to some of the delays that we have had, we used the opportunity to do it right because you had
situations where you had lines running across
people’s property and we wanted to ensure we have proper right of way,” Matthias said.
“We used the opportunity to give the Barbudans [110 or 220 volts] so they have that option and not have to use transformers. We had a situation before the storm, too, where people were getting shocked because Barbuda has very rocky soil. We wanted to do it properly, so it wasn’t just a situation where we just went and [were] putting it back [like before].”