Advertisement 87
Advertisement 323
Donald De Riggs in a 2022 photo.
Donald De Riggs in a 2022 photo.
Advertisement 219

I was fortunate as an emergency communications first responder, to be among decision makers on May 30 as we looked at the “State of Readiness – Continuity of Government in the aftermath of a Major Hazard”, organised by the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO).  It was a well-organised meeting.

That meeting revealed some serious lapses and I am certain that there will be some positive action soon as it relates to the connection of water tanks at schools that are designated emergency shelters. 

The Director of NEMO revealed that since 2021, huge water tanks had been placed at several schools but were NEVER connected so when we experienced the recent shortage of water, some of these schools were forced to close for lack of water.

Unfortunately, this announcement was made after the cameras recording the opening session were removed.  However, two major concerns raised by participants were the waste of water due to leakage and how that must be controlled because statistics provided by CSWA showed that on average, one million gallons of water goes unaccounted for daily.  So, 20% of the water CWSA supplies every day is wasted or used by unmetered users.

Another participant noted that we are surrounded by water and asked why we should suffer from water rationing when portable desalination plants can be deployed at strategic locations to augment and supplement riverine water during dry spells. 

Advertisement 271

That participant noted that Mustique is almost entirely dependent on desalinated water, projects that could be replicated, using solar energy to offset overhead costs, in all the inhabited Grenadine islands.

Developed countries in the Middle East also use desalinated water successfully.  In the Caribbean, St. Maarten and Curacao have been using desalinated water for the last 60 years without destroying the marine environment.  Grant funding for water projects is relatively easy to access as water is a BASIC human right, endorsed by the United Nations.

Switch gear and blackout

Last Sunday evening, almost all of mainland St. Vincent except the Argyle International Airport was thrown into darkness caused by a “switchgear issue”, according to an official release from VINLEC, circulated online.  Now, the question arises, how does a switchgear function? and how can a switchgear malfunction impact the ENTIRE mainland except AIA and its environs? I am not going to guess but wait on VINLEC to explain how their “gear” failed to “switch” properly affecting almost every customer, with the exception of those who have backup generators or renewable energy solutions.

Now, all international airports MUST have their own generators that are independent of the national grid, but which are connected to the grid as a matter of protocol, which is necessary, especially when AIA is servicing their generators. So, one can understand why AIA never lost power. So nuff respect to the electrical maintenance staff at AIA.  

It is also an opportune time to remind all householders that they must consider the use of renewable energy solutions so that in times like these, which are rare but which can and will occur during the hurricane season, that you can NOT be left in the dark — literally.

As radio operators, during the blackout, we were busy testing our emergency equipment and keeping in touch with each other should any emergency arise requiring an urgent response. 

Let me use this opportunity to call on all Vincentians to get some backup lights powered/recharged by solar or wind energy.  So, when your relatives are sending barrels, please ask them to send some solar lights so you cannot be left in the dark next time.

Donald De Riggs

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

2 replies on “That blackout and NEMO’s shocking revelation about those black tanks”

  1. The last paragraph is offering sound advice in a cacocracy tied to dismal priorities and too often marked by its studious incompetence, show-off attitudes and waste.

  2. I have been encouraged SVG nationals since 2008 to use Solar panels after my brother complained about the rising cost of electricity. He had a hot water heater on his property, and I tried to get him to use the same technique to get his home completely dependent on solar panels. I encouraged VINLEV to provide solar panels to homeowners so that SVG would not have to depend on Venezuela shipping oil to the island regularly.

    VINLEC bought solar panels and has a unit somewhere on the island. I am not sure where it is located and if it provides the energy needed to replace part of what the oil section provides.

    I am not use if you can access this link directly from the blog. However, you can Google it and access it.

Comments closed.