IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A Cahill waste of time, energy
ALL APOLOGIES to my friend Cammie Holder and the many Barbadians who oppose the construction of the plasma gasification plant at Vaucluse, St Thomas by foreign firm Cahill Energy, but I could not sign your petitions last Wednesday night.
I also apologise for turning down the opportunity to wear one of your green polo shirts symbolising opposition to the plant. I went to the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) for the Cahill town hall meeting in my capacity as a Nation journalist and therefore could not do anything to suggest I was taking one side or the other. I’m sure you would understand that.
In any event, I am not so sure that I oppose the introduction of technology such as plasma gasification and waste-to-energy conversion to Barbados. I recognise that, as in all aspect of life, whatever we do comes with its pros and cons and it is how we evaluate and manage these that often influence our success.
However, I am now absolutely, positively, without doubt, 100 per cent opposed to any waste-to-energy plant that involves Cahill. In fact, if I was ever mindful to support the project, the performance of those who attempted to sell it to Barbadians at the LESC last Wednesday night blew it all away. They were woeful.
I would dare to suggest that if any member of the Cabinet was in the audience, he or she would have walked away embarrassed. It was that bad.
It was their meeting, they set the time and place and therefore had all the time in the world to prepare. The newspapers and Internet have been filled with negative comments for months now so they should have known what to expect and should have anticipated the tone of the meeting and the types of questions that would have been asked.
On at least four occasions during their presentations, Cahill representatives touted the “fact” that the plant would reduce the cost of electricity in Barbados, yet when a member of the audience asked at what price they would sell the power generated, the response was that that had not yet been determined.
When asked who would be buying the power, they said Government – but they could not promise that Government would pass on the savings.
When asked how much water the plant would use, no one from Cahill could say. They could not even offer a general formula such as for “X” tonnes of garbage “Y” gallons of water would be needed. But then they hurt their own case by declaring they could not say if they would get it from wells or Barbados Water Authority sources, but suggested it could come from “potable” toilet water taken from toilets. (I guess that “potty” is derived from potable!)
When asked if they could name any “small island” where a plasma gasification plant was located, they said Japan.
Asked to name the company’s directors and where they were from, the response was that Cahill is a private firm and who its owners are is really not the business of Barbadians.
Then when asked for details about the contract between Cahill and the Government of Barbados, the company’s boss really incensed the audience with the response that such contracts are never made public.
And for two hours it went on and on . . . . It was the perfect object lesson on how not to win public support. As a matter of fact, I left the hall thinking that Cahill’s CEO Clare Cowan turned out to be the number one ally of the opponents of the project. A major plank of their strategy should be to ensure she is the primary speaker whenever there is another town hall meeting.
In the dark about state of highway lights
I asked before and never got an answer, but since the problem persists, I will ask again.
Do we import cheap street lights and lamps for traffic signals?
Do we have substandard wiring to our lamp posts and the systems that control traffic light?
Does Barbados Light & Power supply unstable power that negatively impacts on these publicly owned devices?
Is there something about our atmosphere that causes unusual or extraordinarily rapid deterioration?
I can’t help but frown in curiosity when I see the number of lights that are not working on our highways and the frequency with which individual bulbs at traffic signals across the country appear to blow.
Yes, compared to a number of our neighbours, we have a lot more lights to maintain in Barbados, but they are only a fraction of what authorities in most North American cities deal with, yet we can drive for miles on city streets and major highways and don’t encounter a single malfunctioning light. Why?
Look at the dual carriageway section of Spring Garden Highway where the lights are located in the centre divider. A few months ago all the lights were changed to the LED type, yet tonight, if you drive along that short stretch, you will encounter a number that are flickering like what you would expect to see on a Christmas tree, as well as some that are just not working.
Yet the literature of the experts tells us LED lights have a lifespan considerably longer that all other light types. Why not in Barbados?
Here’s what the world’s best known light bulb maker, Philips, says about LED lights: “Perhaps even more of an advantage than the considerable energy saving capabilities of these astonishing little marvels is their incredibly long life. The lifespan of a LED is vastly longer than that of incandescent, fluorescent or HID lamp sources: a high quality LED will generally last 70 000 hours or longer. A LED does not burn out like a standard lamp, so individual diodes do not need to be replaced on an array. Instead, the diodes gradually produce lower output levels over a very long period of time. If one LED fails, it does not produce a complete fixture outage.”
One last time: So what’s the problem in Barbados?
Classic and the crown belong in bed together
I’m sorry for anyone who disagrees but this year I’ve got Classic fuh crown. I just love his offerings and if it were left to me, he would already be driving the Mazda saloon, splurging on the $15 000 cash prize and strutting around with the Pic-O-De-Crop crown.
I don’t expect the judges to follow my advice, but I invite readers to just ponder these lyrics and ask yourself if anyone else comes even close. Yes, there are some other powerful contenders, but you need two to win – at least that’s what I’ve been told.
In Bed Together
I don’t know what going on
Seems yuh can’t trust no one
Whole lot o’ pretenders bout hey, I say
They pretend they have your back
Don’t fall into that trap
A lot o’ them hoity tighty bout hey, beware
Birds of a feather together
Laughing at we
When all o’ dem cosy cosy
Take a look and see.
De lawmakers and they corrupt friends, in bed together
Politicians, some insurance men, in bed together
When dem in bed and doing deh ting
In de end its dem who does win
When dem in bed and done do deh do
It is de people dat getting…
Screw up yuh face ah don’t care who vex
All dem is pals is how deh does flex
Don’t know if it’s strictly business or pleasure
Every time I look dem in bed together.
Ah see wid me own two eyes
Queen divan and king size
All kinda beds they have on display, bout hey
Right dey in front yuh face
A shame and it’s a disgrace
All o’ dem bedroom business outside, can’t hide
Some even tossing and turning
Like duh just can’t sleep
Lying in every position
When yuh take a peep.
De investors and deh government friends, in bed together
Unions and businessmen, in bed together
When dem in bed and take off deh shoes
It is de working class who does lose
When dem in bed boy we out o’ luck
It is de masses dat getting…
Fuh goodness sake they should have a heart
Self-interest some just playing a part
Can’t fool me they think that dem clever
Every time I peep dem in bed together.
Most o’ dem wide awake
Strange bedfellows they make
Everytime they get between de sheets, de bed creaks
It collapse from all de strain
De poor man feeling de pain
All in de middle hurting yuh backs, wid nuff tax
Too many people in one bed
Somebody must get squeeze
But when yuh laying down wid dogs
You get up wid fleas.
De deejays and some calypsonians, in bed together
Minibus owners and all o’ dem, in bed together
When dem in bed and dem start to wine
De whole society does get grind
When dem in bed getting duh belly full
It is de country dat getting…
Bullying still gine on in de schools
Some have no dam regards for de rules
I can’t say who horny as ever
Every day I catch dem in bed together.
So now yuh see you can’t trust a fella, duh in bed together
De young de old any kinda weather, duh in bed together
Police at sea and one pelting leather, duh in bed together
Deh get so wet deh need a umbrella ella ella ella, duh in bed together.