Attorney-at-Law Jean Kelsick, recently wrote the The Premier of Montserrat and his Cabinet, voicing his concerns to do with Montserrat's electricity crisis. Read the full letter now published via MNI Alive below:
24th September, 2021
Office of the Premier
I am writing to you about the deplorable state of the supply of electricity in Montserrat. My recent calls to your office to discuss the matter were not returned.
The general perception is that due to poor decisions made by DFID, to which a weak MUL board acquiesced, the new power station was flawed even before it even was built. Incompatible generators were earmarked and the company contracted to build the station was unable to complete it, resulting in it costing several million dollars more than it should have. There is also a perception that the capability of MUL’s engineering department is under par.
Despite being new, costing in the region of EC$40 to 50 mill. and Montserrat’s limited energy demands, the new power station has never worked properly. Whenever there is a significant influx of visitors it breaks down or consumers are subjected to load shedding. In the face of regular and now chronic power cuts, high electricity bills and a large number of destroyed electrical appliances that MUL refuses to pay compensation for, this is a bitter pill for consumers to swallow.
The recent cuts are worse than anything experienced in over fifty years. Simply put, they are precipitating a national crisis. The island’s economy and sustainability will break down unless the power station is fixed. Equally disturbing is your government’s wall of silence, suggesting it has no plan for resolving the problem. Your government has distinguished itself thus far by sweeping problems under the rug and failing to communicate adequately with the public. This is totally unacceptable in a democratic society.
I call on you as the Premier to establish a commission of enquiry into why a EC$40 to 50 mill. power plant is a white elephant and to personally explain to residents, with whose welfare you are entrusted, what exactly is wrong with the power station and what steps are being taken by your government to fix the problem. You cannot say that because MUL is an independent statutory body government cannot intervene. To the contrary, as in law MUL is an essential service provider, government should and must intercede.
If, as I suspect is the case, money is needed resolve this mess your government must make a robust case to the British Government for it. In the face of the present crisis Montserrat expects bold and decisive leadership from you.
This letter will be given the widest possible circulation.