More again, about Elmar

Watching the Elmar press conference this past week, I was reminded of the classic joke, when a politician is speaking, especially when moving his lips, he is suspected to be lying. It is a humorous comment on the perceived dishonesty often associated with certain professions, particularly in politics. Lawyers are also often accused of uttering untruths, bluffing deliberately. I don’t know. I favorite lawyer is adorable.

The media was full of sound bites and images, to support Elmar’s case, that the power outages are not its fault. They showed leftovers of a helium balloon flapping in the wind wrapped over high voltage electric lines, and pictures of electric poles that jumped in the way of drunk drivers, to explain why we have so many current interruptions.

The helium balloon might have been a disgruntled employee. No?

The drunk drivers? Yes, it is an epidemic. Last night we had an accident at 1:45am which took a few neighborhoods around Frenchmen’s Pass off the grid and this morning a cement truck ran into cables at 9:08am in Sabana Liber.

Back to the press conference where the director admitted lack of maintenance, with the director of maintenance sitting by his side. I would have been ticked-off to hear my boss throw me under the bus in public.

Let’s go back in time. When our visionary leader Mike Eman conceived the Green Corridor and the Watty Vos Boulevard, electric cables and water lines had to be moved to accommodate road construction. That was an unbudgeted expense, but the leader insisted so Elmar and WEB spent the money. Copper pipes are cheap, relatively speaking, but specialized, custom produced high voltage electric cables are EXPENSIVE.

That investment blew the company’s budgets into limbo, and nine years into the saga, we pay the price of delayed maintenance due to funds, distributed elsewhere.

They also suffered a brain drain. Some electric engineers went to Curacao, some passed away, some opened their own businesses, some retired, some got hired by industrial local companies.

They also fired, and hired inexperienced people, and the current director hails from the hospital. Can he critique what his engineers are telling him?

Utilities also suffered from personnel changes and its important institutional memory evaporated.

So here you have it. We still think it is Elmar’s fault.

As for the minister’s promise to reduce utility rates by the summer of 2024, and his plan to compensate companies for damages? Please re-read my first paragraph.

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May 17, 2024
Rona Coster