By anguillian November 20, 2017 09:36 Updated




The Hon. Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Curtis Richardson, toured various areas of Anguilla on Tuesday, November 14, where work is in progress on the restoration of electricity.

The tour was to enable him to meet the Anguillian, Caribbean and Canadian linesmen carrying out their skilled work, and to have an on-the-spot understanding and appreciation of their tireless efforts and the volume and difficulties of their work. The tour also assisted him in verifying reports by the Anguilla Electricity Company (ANGLEC) that the restoration of the power supply, grossly disrupted by Hurricane Irma, would largely be achieved by Christmas.
The Minister was accompanied by ANGLEC’s Chief Executive, Mr. David Gumbs; Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Jemila Morson-Hodge; Facebook videographer, Mr. Lloyd Gumbs; and Mr. Nat Hodge, Editor of The Anguillian newspaper.
“The Minister had requested an opportunity for him to be taken around to greet all the crews engaged in the restoration work,” Mr. David Gumbs said. “We started in Sandy Ground, stopped in the Upper South Hill area and travelled up the Jeremiah Gumbs Highway to the Little Harbour area to see what was going on.” The tour also included the North Side and Island Harbour areas where there are other work crews.”
“Is it really feasible that the restoration work will basically be completed by Christmas?” Mr. Gumbs was asked.

“Well, there is a whole lot at play and the logistics are enormous,” he replied. “We have lots of people on the ground. We have lots of materials and movements; lots of poles are being deployed and planted. A lot of people are working hard to make this happen. That’s our goal and we really are hoping to achieve it.”

Asked about the workforce, Mr. Gumbs said: “We have about 35 persons from the Caribbean. That number goes up and down every week because we have teams leaving and teams coming in. We have been working feverishly over the last couple of months to find additional teams to help us out with this initiative. This week we have a lot of different teams arriving. We also have the Canadian contingency. Fifteen of them are on the ground already and we are hoping to have another twenty or so within the next two weeks, depending on the arrival of their equipment.”

While parts of the eastern end of the island, the North Hill, South Hill and Blowing areas, are still to be energised, there is a big push to the western areas of Anguilla including the tourism belt where the major hotels are located. In order to achieve this, a good deal of the restoration work is being focused in the Little Harbour area where the largest group of Caribbean and Anguillian workers, in particular, as well as the Canadian crew, have been deployed.
The work in the Little Harbour area includes the planting of 60-foot poles to accommodate the high tension lines of some 34.5 kilowatts through Blowing Point and down to West End. In addition, 45-foot poles are also being planted to provide some 13.8 kilowatts of power to other areas. In both cases the high voltage is to be broken down to provide safe connections of 120 and 240 volts to properties. A number of workers will be specially brought in to speed up connections throughout the island.
Minister Curtis Richardson, who is the Elected Representative for the Road South Constituency, was pleased that electricity would soon be restored in the Blowing Point area as the restoration work pushes west.

“The work on the high voltage and low voltage power supply is progressing down into the Blowing Point community,” he stated. “It is a lot of work but I am happy to see that, based on my calculations as a mathematician, the work crews should be highly visible right down into the Blowing Point community, in the Kirkley area, anytime within the next two to three weeks – that’s the end of November to early December.”

Mr. David Gumbs also spoke about the restoration work west of Blowing Point. “We have some thirty plus persons still to come to Anguilla. Twenty of them will be part of the Canadian contingency,” he reported. “They are going to be coming on in the next two weeks and will be deployed to areas in the west starting from the Hughes Medical Centre area. The crew which will be finishing the work in the east will also be deployed in the west. There is a crew in the North Side area which will be pushing into the North Hill area when they complete the North Side, Roaches Hill and Limestone areas. A lot of resources are being organised and strategically deployed so that we can make this push before Christmas.”
Following the tour, the Minister of Infrastructure said he was gratified to have been out in the field and to have seen so much progress, and hard work, by the various linesmen which he thought was highly commendable. He was of the view that with the commitment and hard work of everyone, the goal of restoring electricity in Anguilla was achievable within the estimated time frame.

Meanwhile, the tour also provided an opportunity for the parties to review some of the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma. This included ANGLEC’s completely destroyed four-acre solar farm at Corito which, according to Mr. David Gumbs, is to be rebuilt stronger later on. Nearby is a large pile of damaged poles which are being sold to the public at EC$2.00 per foot; a cluster of discarded wire torn down by the hurricane; and a large number of damaged and unusable transformers. There is also a large supply of new transformers waiting to be installed on many of the utility poles across the island as the electricity restoration work progresses.

By anguillian November 20, 2017 09:36 Updated


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