Apparently my little blog post about a malfunctioning clock in the PR pictures of the PM inspecting the power plant in Penal on Good Friday morning has raised a shit storm. But I will let the storm take care of itself, while I raise some more questions.
Kamla’s government is well known for its use of PR and image management, but not necessarily its efficient use of it. If the government was successfully managing its PR, the population wouldnt even notice it. They would be swept up in the hype, not questioning it at every turn.
In fact, the government’s use of hype is often so vulgar the only reaction it provokes is disgust.
But let’s get back into this clock.
I got up this morning and the first thing I did was pull the battery out of my phones. I waited about 10 minutes, popped the battery back in and switched the phones on. The phones booted up and switched to the correct time.
I then did the same thing with my microwave and electric stove. Pulled the plug and then plugged them back in. Both the stove and microwave went back to 00:00.
I then pulled out a Nokia phone that I keep stored safely away for the end of the world. This phone isn’t charged regularly, once every few months; and it is switched off. I switched it on after months of no use and it immediately had the correct time.
Why am I going into all of this? To show you how ridiculous the government’s response about the clock at Powergen having shut down and not re-started properly is.
All afternoon yesterday my blog and anyone on FB or Twitter who dared share my thoughts and questions on why the clock was telling the wrong time was ATTACKED by supporters of this government.
Some folks came along and offered their counter-scepticism, which is fine…but the vitrolic attacks is where I draw the line. When I can’t question my government in peace, on a private or public medium, I know that something is wrong.
The irony is that the blog post didn’t just question the PM’s visit, it also raised questions about the efficiency of operations at PowerGen. But Kamla’s Minions were deployed to attack…not think.
So we have a situation wherein a nation experiences a power outage. It is classified as a Level One National Security issue, but there were absolutely no signs of Jack Warner during or after the black out….a rare occurrence if you ask me. There was also no sign of the Minister of Public Utilities, Mr Nizam Baksh. Good governance and accountability in we pweffen.
The power outage happens and the PM whose ratings have plummeted sees this as the perfect way to curry favour with the population. It’s almost as if, in the aftermath of WarnerGate, this blackout showed up as a gift.
According to most reports the black out happened around midnight. The Prime Minister shows up at around 5 am dressed as if she dropped everything and hustled out of the door….4 hours after the black out started. And she just happened to remember to bring along a photographer along to document the trip. And in the midst of working assiduously to bring power back on to the suffering citizens the engineers and technicians at PowerGen Syne Village Plant had time to pose for several group pics with the PM. I couldnt make this thing up if I tried.
But what I have just described is only mildly annoying. This, after all, is a government that holds ribbon-cutting opening ceremonies for refurbished swings in parks in Cocorite. This is a government whose Ministers and supporters mark and measure success in box drains.
If nothing else, that clock at PowerGen tells us that something very sloppy went down at the Plant. This is a plant responsible for providing electricity to an entire grid. That grid would comprise various villages.
Time in a control room at an industrial plant is a serious thing. When incidents happen or readings are taken, you have to register times.
The report that the PM and Minister of Energy has requested will require the measurement of times and time frames. If the clock….and members of Kamla’s PR team keep telling me it’s a satellite and GPS clock….if the clock in the control room isn’t telling the correct time. Then whose time are they going by? Is Penal operating out of time? In a separate time Zone? Are we to believe that PowerGen not operating up to international standards and not using Satellite Clocks that have a DC power back up in the case of power loss?
Today we read in the Trinidad Guardian that there have been 3 major black outs in 3 years. How often is THE CLOCK IN THE CONTROL ROOM not working or telling the correct time? And has the government realised that it’s under their tenure that PowerGen seems to be regularly malfunctioning? Why?
In an effort to further spin the issue of the malfunctioning clock, they then deployed some bigger guns.
Roger D Ramcharitar, who describes himself as a former adviser in the Ministry of Energy, posted a response to my blog post that insisted:
As a former Advisor at the Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs, I sought clarification from colleagues within the industry and I have been able to ascertain that the clock in the photograph was actually a satellite clock which displayed an INCORRECT TIME as a result of the power outage knocking it off temporarily.
You should also know that Roger Ramcharitar, worked as a communications adviser for the Ministry of Energy. In short, he was responsible for speeches and PR. He wasn’t a technical adviser or someone who understands the operations of a plant and why a clock is so important, so I will forgive his enthusiasm. But Roger you should know better and inform your supporters better.
But let’s say the clock did stop at the time of the outage…even though we know the plant had its own back up generators and should have been running anyway…
Let’s say the clock stopped at 00:37 or 00:45 which is the time most newspapers have given. When exactly did the power come back on at the Penal Plant for the time to be registered as 21:13:29?
You feeling me yet? The time on the clock, regardless of what argument, makes no sense.
It implies that who ever is responsible for maintenance at that plant is poohar! Sloppy at best…and heads should roll over the fact that the clock isn’t telling the correct time!
And for Roger Ramcharitar to insist that in the presence of Kamla no one remembered to re-set the clock tells me that the technicians and engineers at PowerGen don’t have their priorities straight and aren’t interested in best practice and high standards…not when it have a PM and a camera around.
The clock on the wall is actually a damning indictment of operational procedures at PowerGen Penal…..unless of course the clock telling the correct time and the Prime Minister was there at 9 pm instead of 5 am….which is a whole other can of worms.
We now have the PM grandcharging and calling for a full investigation and report. We know how that goes here.
Madam PM investigate that clock first….no report can be valid if the clock aint set right. Penal was clearly in a different time zone to the rest of the country.
I expect that the investigation is just another way to put money in the pocket of another government shill who will say nothing went wrong and the power outage was just a misstep.
NGC and Phoenix Park Processors needs to tell us why PowerGen experienced a gas shortage at midnight. What stopped the flow of fuel and why is no one from NGC speaking to us yet?
We also need to know why a problem that originated in Penal shut down the ENTIRE COUNTRY? Especially when the majority of the country is served by the Point Lisas and PoS Plants.
You need to tell us why every time anyone questions the actions of your government we are attacked an threatened?
And you also need to explain the absence of Minister of National Security, Jack Warner the night and morning of the outage since this was a National Security emergency as well, and we know how much Minister Warner cares about the country.
Leave the explanation about the clocks to the experts.
We Full Dotish AND Full Dangerous.