Chief Executive Officer of VINLEC, Thornley Myers, has noted the interest that the New Democratic Party and Unity Labour Party administrations have taken in the electricity company since it because a state-owned firm in 1985.
He made the point Tuesday as he spoke of the two attempts earlier this year to firebomb the company’s headquarters in Kingstown, and the burning of one of its utility poles.
“Just to say that incidents like these do have an impact on the operations of the company and do have an impact on the company itself,” Myers told reporters.
He said that since the incidents, VINLEC has ramped up security of its compound significantly.
“We are in the process of acquiring and installing additional security devices and they are costing us. Those activities are costing us, Myers said, adding, “Deviant behaviour in any society only leads to moral and social destruction and cost to a country.”
He said VINLEC has over 26,000 poles “and the fact that a citizen would think that the burning of a pole is some kind of activity to be celebrated is shameful and much more so, the infrastructure that the company has put in place.”
Myers said many Vincentians are too young to know what the company was like when the government took it over in 1985.
“It is a strange phenomenon in an era of free enterprise and so on that a company that belonged to the private sector essentially was taken over by the government.
“And there was one simple reason. It’s that the state of electricity supply in the country was deplorable, and, at that time, the private investor, who was CDC had no interest in the development of the electricity sector. And the government decided that energy is too important an activity to be left foundering and therefore, the decision was taken to acquire the company.”
Myers said that VINLEC has made “tremendous strides” in the last 30 years.
“And it will continue. And I think it is in the interest of all of us as Vincentians to protect what this company has.
“It’s not about any government, because I say this: the thirty years that have elapsed since this company is state-owned, both governments that have been in office have taken a special interest in VINLEC. There is no question about that. So, this is not about any government. It is about our company, to the credit of all.
“Of course, there are moments in time when people take shots at us, for one reason or the other. But I think both governments that have been in power have recognised the importance of energy and in terms of its development and therefore have taken an interest in ensuring that VINLEC operates and operates well.”
Myers said that he remembers in the late 1970s, as a student, seeing the VINLEC facility at the Lyric compound in flames.
“And there are records today that we would have liked to have had, but we don’t have them because of that particular event, and that was 36 years ago. So, no one should really take glamour in any exercise of destruction of any kind, more so the electric utility. We are hoping that the measures we would put in place would act as a deterrent and more so, if anyone were to attempt to do anything that they will be caught in the process,” Myers said.
“This country has invested too much in this company for deviant behaviour to create destruction and cost to customers,” he told reporters.