PHILIPSBURG: —Management and staff at utility company GEBE had their hands full Monday morning as over thirty persons showed up to express their displeasure with the constant power outages that have been plaguing the island. The protest was the brainchild of a disgruntled consumer who took to social media to begin a petition and organize the protest of like-minded individuals.
Tempers were especially frayed over this weekend’s outages, coming on the heels of a public announcement by GEBE’s management last week Wednesday morning that the problems with engine 19 had been resolved. Engine 19 was introduced by GEBE’s management as a major factor leading to the load shedding that was in evidence for weeks. A part for the said engine was ordered and a time frame established for an end to the load shedding, but management explained that the wrong part had mistakenly been shipped to the island. This was addressed and a subsequent announcement was made that the issues were no more.
One business owner who participated in the protest expressed the sentiment that these issues are not as common on the other islands and lamented the negative impact these constant outages have on her business. She noted that because of the outages she has been on occasion been forced to have a two-hour work week. Among the protesters was also well-known local retired pastor and leader of the St. Maarten Christian Party Wycliffe Smith who explained that he chose to participate in the protest because he is also a consumer and is affected just as other consumers.
Complaints of damaged electrical appliances and children forced to study by candle light were among the reasons protesters gave for participating. GEBE’s management has since attributed the weekend’s outages to the overhauling of engine #16 which needed to be serviced and the need to perform corrective measures on engine 19 to adjust the exhaust gas temperature which had increased. The company’s management is still optimistic that the issues are under control.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Disgruntled consumers in front of GEBE Monday.