Jan 30, 2013 News Comments Off on Lethem businessmen complain of electricity rationing, lack of police
In the wake of the recent $10M robbery and murder of a security guard at Lethem on January 18, last, members of the business community there are expressing concern over electricity rationing as well as the severe understaffing of the Police Station that serves the community.
A spokesman for the Rupununi Chamber of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RRCI) has expressed disgust that since June last year the Lethem Power Company Inc., (LPCI) had been unable to provide 24-hour-a-day electricity.
“They are instead offering twenty hours a day electricity, that is from 8:00 AM to 4:00AM the next day and even that is not guaranteed because sometimes the current goes earlier,” one businessman complained.
He said that too that the new Board of Directors of LPCI was installed on August 25, last, by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
“Up to just before that a representative from the business community had always been selected to be on the Board of Directors of the Company, but since the new Board was installed by the Prime Minister, it was found that no one had been chosen to represent the business community as a major stakeholder in the community.
The businessman said that the Chamber had written to the Office of the Prime Minister last year protesting the Chamber’s exclusion from the Board of LPCI, but has not received any reply since.
He said, too, that the Police Station at Lethem is undermanned, with some Police ranks working as many as eighteen hours a day before being relieved from duty. He added that the electricity rationing, shortage of Police ranks, and the apparent increased sophistication in crime as seen on January 18, last, had caused the Chamber to make an urgent review of the security situation at Lethem.
The Chamber and other stakeholders, including the Regional Democratic Council (RDC), met earlier this week and will meet again tomorrow to “further discuss how to react to the apparently escalating crime situation”.
Some responses being mulled include the formation of Policing Groups for patrolling the commercial zone, Culvert City and Tabatinga. Options also include establishing their own Security Force to safeguard businesses and properties, the businessman said.
“Lethem is a port of entry and exit. We are at a very strategic location. Government needs to beef up the strength of the Police Force here. They also need to upgrade the living accommodation of the Policemen. At present the few that are at the station here are housed in a small choked-up barrack room.”
The businessmen are also calling for steps to be taken to get the LPCI to return to providing 24-hour-a-day electricity.
It would be useful too, the spokesman said, if the Company could review its decision to exclude a representative from the business community from its board.
“We cannot understand up to now why a representative from the Chamber is not on the Board and we want this situation reviewed and action taken so that we as major stakeholders in the electricity system in Lethem can get access to the Board to understand what is happening and to make an input into a solution to the problems,” the spokesman said.
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