ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Ministry of Sports is not only laying the blame for the disconnection of utilities to a number of sporting facilities squarely on the Antigua Public Utilities Authority, (APUA) but said ”the matter could have been handled differently had its request for consultations … been facilitated.”
A caller to OBSERVER Radio’s Snakepit programme blew the whistle when he informed the host that the electricity to one of the sports facilities had been disconnected. Thereafter, others confirmed the suppression in other parts of the island.
The Ministry of Sports said while it recognises APUA’s right to make such decisions regarding load shedding and to choose sectors which must be given preferential treatment, in the interest of conservation and limited power supply, the Board of Directors failed to consult with them even when asked to do so.
In a letter addressed to chairman of the Board of APUA, Clarvis Joseph, dated August 2011, Minister of State: Sports, Local Government & Special Projects Winston Williams reminded Joseph of an earlier meeting in February 2010 where he asked for consultations on the “matters relating to the provision of utility services for sports and recreation.
“To date, in spite of our repeated efforts to determine the status of the MOU; repeated efforts to set up a number of meetings with management to discuss the matter of the cost to government and a system to monitor use of utilities on public playing fields, there has been little progress.
“It would appear that the public discussions and outrage on management of utility services on sports and recreational facilities only has relevance for the Ministry of Sports and not APUA.”
Despite the actions, The Sports Ministry is hopeful that discussions on the issue could be held ”within days.”
An apology for the suppression of electricity has come from the Sports Department saying, “It deeply regrets the inconvenience caused to a number of patrons who were participating in sports and recreational activities and who had to curtail their activities as a result of the power outage.”
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)