In a letter published in the Monday Edition of this newspaper Charles Sohan wrote concerning the overpass elevators located on the East Bank of Demerara. In his letter titled “Installation of elevators on the EBD overpasses will prove to be a tragic and costly error” he outlined some critical facts that the public should have been aware of concerning the equipment.
Sohan said further in the letter that “The installation of elevators on overpasses along the East Bank will prove to be a tragic and costly error by Minister Patterson for several reasons. Firstly, elevators are complex equipment which require skilled technicians which Guyana does not have to service them.
Secondly, solar energy to power the elevators could be erratic because of battery storage and other factors. If the electricity is supplied by GPL this could be problematic also because of regular blackouts to users.
Thirdly, the over passes will have to be provided with 24/7 security as level of thefts and vandalism of unguarded equipment by some segments of society can be overwhelming, as was evidence by what happened at the Moco Moco and Tumatumari hydropower plants as well as the recently installed elevators, Sohan noted.
“The elevators were supplied by a Swedish manufacturer through its Trinidadian agent, while construction of the overpasses was awarded to local contractors. No information was given on inspection of the equipment during installation nor supervision of the construction of the overpasses,” Sohan stated.
He went on to say that the project should have been completed by June 2018 but in September of this year only one of the elevators installed has been working with “teething” problems. It was stated that they have a one year warranty but it was not made clear if or when this “warranty” period commenced, since this would determine which party is responsible for theft and vandalism of the equipment.
He noted that a quarterly maintenance package was bought for the elevators but went on to question “Does this mean that the elevators will be inspected and services or repairs done to them will be carried out whenever breakdowns occur, as it is not unusual for elevators to break down between service intervals?”
A lot of things are not quite clear to the public regarding the elevators and a number of them are mentioned in the letter. “These are key things that a person finds out when buying equipment at the price the elevators were bought for which is still unknown. It is hoped that Minister Patterson will clear the air on all these critical concerns.”
He said that these elevators are “costly and complex equipment to operate and maintain, in accordance with set standards particularly when they are exposed to the elements. The technicians who service and maintain them have to be trained and licensed.”
He went on to say that “Critical spares have to be kept for quick replacement to prevent serious incident from happening like people being trapped in them for long periods.”
Just recently there was an incident at one of these overpasses on the East Bank where there was what appeared to be a system malfunction and an operator along with passengers were trapped for hours. This clearly shows that the country is not prepared and does not have the persons with the necessary skills to handle these situations. Hence it would have been rectified in a nick of time.
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