Letter of the day | Are we ready for investors?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Many years ago, long before the information age was what it is today, I was in New York when there was a power outage that lasted about half a minute. This was in the morning and the event dominated the news for the rest of the day. I found that strange as, living in Jamaica, I had come to expect long and frequent outages.
On Saturday, shortly after 5 p.m., there was an islandwide blackout. This was the second outage in four months - islandwide, that is. I make this clear because, living in Stony Hill, we can safely prepare ourselves for some level of inconvenience as soon as thunder starts to 'roll'. But this is 2016! The technological age! We live in a time when critical information is transmitted - electronically - immediately. Money is made or lost, and lives are saved or lost in a matter of seconds.
The relevant minister, whose training enables him to understand the consequences, was rightly livid.
As far as trained engineers are concerned, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is haemorrhaging badly. But although no one seems to know the cause of the outage, the JPS boss Kelly Tomblin claims that the shortage of engineers had nothing to do with this terrifying event.
We do not need to wait on trained analysts to figure out the damage and loss of a six-hour blackout, at night, on any society.
In 1983, I put this question to a government senator: "If you get the large investment inflows the government is talking about, will our public utilities be able to respond to the increased demand?" Permit me, sir, to put that same question - 33 years later - to our present prime minister.