No light, No vote…
The ruling People’s Progressive Party could lose a chunk of their votes for the upcoming General Elections if some of their traditional supporters do not receive electricity to their homes soon.
Residents in about 75 households on the Annandale Railway Embankment have vowed to withhold their votes for the party as ransom for the provision of long awaited electricity to their homes.
They claimed that electricity was promised to them prior to the last elections in 2006 and five years later they are still waiting for the promise to be fulfilled.
This time around they will not fall for similar promises stating that if they are not given electricity soon, there is no way they would give the ruling party their votes, especially since they were “made fools of ” five years ago.
Vimi, a resident of the area since 2000, recalled that she and her husband moved there when the place was not regularised.
Since then, the area has undergone several surveys with a view to regularisation.
According to documents shown to this newspaper, in 2003 the Ministry of Housing issued no objection to persons occupying the southern section of the Railway Embankment between Lusignan and Annandale.
Later, in 2007, the ministry provided letters to the occupants of land- assuring that they were the legitimate owners- while providing clearance for them to receive legal electricity.
But efforts to have the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated oblige to their request for electricity have been futile.
“Since then, we been getting a push around. GPL got us going and coming,” Vimi told Kaieteur News.
And efforts to get a concrete commitment from Minister of Housing Irfan Ali, has been a nightmare, they charged.
“When we meet with him, he just tell we two words and he done with we,” the woman explained.
The woman said that her husband even applied to the GPL to purchase a transformer to access power from the company’s power lines which run through the community, even if it meant paying the $700,000 cost for the equipment.
According to Vimi, a senior GPL official informed that he will prepare their request and forward it to Housing Minister Irfan Ali for approval.
“He told us the Minister refused to sign. We all would have come together and pay for the transformer. We are not animals. It’s people living here. Our children have to study,” Vimi told this newspaper.
To compound matters, just a few houses from her, the GPL has allegedly installed a private transformer to supply electricity to another resident.
“They tell we, we could get in touch with de man (resident) and work out something to get a feed from he,” the woman stated.
However she said that the man is presently overseas and no contact can be made with him.
Anita, another resident of the area, who has been living there since 1996, said that she too had applied for legal electricity and was told to pay up all her rates and taxes for the land she occupied, since the place was to be regularised.
That was a few years ago and today she is still awaiting electricity.
“Is years we living like this. Me three children write Common Entrance and all of them failed because them ain’t get proper light fuh study, dem had to study with flambeau,” Anita lamented.
All the homes have been wired and several certificates obtained.
“Look how dese fittings getting rusty. By de time dey ready fuh come give we light, we gone gat fuh re-wire de place,” Vimi said.
Most of the residents who spoke to Kaieteur News yesterday, had bought electrical appliances in anticipation of electricity.
Bibi, another resident said that she was even robbed by GPL personnel who conned her into believing that she would be provided with electricity for a fee.
Vimi was reportedly also a victim of the scam.
They explained that the men came in a GPL vehicle, bearing the markings “Unserved Areas Electrification Programme”.
“They come and put in meter and we pay them,” Vimi said.
But in her case after two weeks other GPL officials came and removed the meters, while accusing her of fraud.
In Bibi’s case they came and removed her meter after only a day.
“Before Election 2006, dem come and promise we light. Dem after de Lusignan massacre dem promise we again and we still ain’t get light. Dem Ministers got dem AC, DC and even PC, wha we gat? Me wife win a washer from Keishar’s and look it done getting rusty,” one man told this newspaper pointing to an old looking washer although it was never put into operation.
They pointed to the fact that the president was giving away laptop computers and yet in 2011, several areas are still without electricity.
“Today is Mother’s Day and we can’t even play lil music. Before we buy lil rum and enjoy de day. We gat fuh buy gasoline fuh generator. We got to get light fuss den them gone get de x,” another resident of the Annandale Railway Embankment stated.
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