Dec 28, 2017  Features / ColumnistsFreddie Kissoon

There are things Governments just don’t do. If they are insensitive and they do them they may engender unpleasant expressions of anger from citizens or they may lose their credibility in the eyes of the nation. I am not going to offer examples of such types of situation. But I know that there are days in the calendar year that are very special to people that you cannot allow citizens to endure blackouts.

On Christmas Eve morning, I was driving west along Kitty Public Road, heading for the Eve Leary seawall with my dog.  At the junction where Pere Street meets the public road, APNU+AFC Georgetown city councillor, Carlyle Goring, was chatting with some municipal cleaners and he hailed me up to stop.

Carlyle is in Trinidad completing his law degree. As we chatted, I asked which law firm he is going to be attached to when he returns, and suggested that I may be able to help in that regard.

Goring smilingly said, “Freddie, I don’t know if I am going to stay” to which I replied, “but you have a wife and four young children.” He retorted, “I will take them with me.”

I left Goring, walked my dog on the beach, went to Spicy Dish on David Street, Kitty, bought two dhol puri to go with my coffee for breakfast. When I reached home, there was blackout. This meant I couldn’t use the coffee maker to brew the ground coffee. I do not like instant coffee. My wife and daughter use it but not me. I am just a huge craver of ground coffee.

freddie-kissoon-300x273I settled for Café Pele, instant coffee. We buy Café Pele because every bottle sold, Pele gets a percent. My frustration of not having “perk” coffee was not the source of my anger; it was what my wife had to endure. She was baking her Christmas cake. We have an oven that only works with electricity. I recall mentioning this in a previous column on blackouts. It was a stupid buy but we had no options. At the time in 2007, that was the only type all the stores had.

When electricity goes the oven stops. If you know about baking, then you would know that the cake “falls” (that’s the word my wife told me). To prevent the cake from spoiling, my wife rushed upstairs to detach the UPS from the computer. The UPS stores electricity. My wife said the cake only needs about half an hour more and she asked if the UPS can generate electricity for half an hour.

I didn’t know. I doubted it. But I suggest she let the cake spoil rather that use the UPS on the stove only to damage it and then I will not be able to use the computer. This is what two persons, in their sixties, who spent their entire lives in their country had to put up with on Christmas Eve morning.

I just drank my Café Pele and went about my chores. I wasn’t livid. I don’t get upset at Guyana’s electricity insanity. If you do, you lose. You lose your sanity and the blackouts will continue anyway. It is best to condition your mind to accept the situation. As we were discussing the fate of the cake, I told my wife what Goring had said to me earlier in the morning.

I intoned; “You see why Goring may leave.” I need to mention, the day before, we got electricity disruption much to the annoyance of my daughter. You are not going to believe this; blackout came on Christmas Day when my wife was baking chicken.

The next day, Boxing Day, at 7:30 PM I was looking at a YouTube movie, “The town that dreaded sundown,” on one of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries about a Texas serial killer in 1946; blackout came. We had electricity withdrawal on December 23, December 24, December 25, and December 26.  Why should anyone stay in a country where they cannot enjoy the comfort of the Christmas season?  The electricity supply has collapsed in Guyana. I don’t think in the distant future the situation will improve. Oil money will not be spent wisely so don’t expect the end of blackouts.

When blackouts come at the most inopportune moment, I remember Stanley Ming. I was at the funeral service for the father of Minister Cathy Hughes, Hugh Chomondeley, and while we were leaving, Stanley said he would like to offer me a generator. I thought it would be a conflict of interest for media operatives to accept gifts. I still do. So I may ask President Granger for one.