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ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Following the passage of the monstrous Category 5 Hurricane Irma that left no stone unturned and the territory in a state of total darkness, 44 linemen from seven different countries arrived to assist the BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) with power restoration.
The groups of linemen that came to assist the territory in its restration efforts imclude: GRENLEC from Grenada; BEL from Belize; VINLEC from St Vincent; LUCELEC from St Lucia; CUC from Cayman Islands; BELCO from Bermuda and ELMAR from Aruba.
In an exclusive interview and tour of the linemen in action with General Manager of BVIEC, Mr Leroy A. E. Abraham, the teams all shared the same sentiments that they are grateful for the appreciation in which they have been receiving from the locals.
“We have been working days after days”- Edgard R. Geerman
Speaking exclusively with Edgard R. Geerman, Supervisor of the ELMAR team from Aruba who arrived in the territory on September 29, 2017, he said they are happy to assist and the locals are friendly.
“We are glad to help the people here. We have been working days after days and my team are working hard,” said Mr Geerman.
He disclosed that the locals would pass his team on the road and show their appreciation by saying thank you and even offer them water and juices.
Meanwhile, Mr Stevon T. Trott, lineman from BELCO Bermuda who landed on September 28, 2017, expressed that working alongside BVIEC has been a “unique and great experience”, adding that the locals are very “warm and welcoming”.
The majority of the teams have been in the territory for a month and some of the teams even extended their time to assist with more restoration.
The team from CUC Cayman Islands arrived in the territory on October 10, 2017 and has been working in the area of Greenland, East End.
In an invited comment, Mr Geraude J. Holness, Supervisor of CUC expressed that working to restore electricity on the island has been “challenging but a rewarding experience”.
“We always look forward to helping the people to get back to some normalcy in their lives and electricity plays a big part of that,” while noting that they have received cold beverages from the locals who got power restored to them.
Mr Holness explained that the challenge arise because of the terrain and that trying to salvage equipment takes time rather than having new equipment which would allow them to move at a faster pace.
“Never seen such a devastation”- Michael R. Ambrose
The St Lucia team LUCELEC arrived in the Virgin Islands (VI) on September 24, 2017.
Mr Michael R. Ambrose, Supervisor of LUCELEC St Lucia, revealed to our news reporter that this is his second restoration experience but this is the worse he has ever seen, adding that his team got a two week extension in order to further assist.
“We are happy to be here to assist and we are all welcoming the experience while learning more. Based on my past experience, I have never seen such a devastation such as this,” said Mr Ambrose.
The St Lucia team supervisor conveyed that the locals would stop and give his team compliments on the work that they have been doing.
“…it’s like a home away from home”- Les H. Malcolm
“It has been a good experience and its the worse I’ve ever seen for a hurricane,” said Les H. Malcolm, supervisor from VINLEC St Vincent who landed in the territory on October 10, 2017.
Mr Malcolm admitted that “it’s like a home away from home” because he has encountered numerous St Vincent nationals on the island.
“The locals here have showed us a lot of appreciation for the work that we have been doing and I would like to tell them to keep holding on,” said the St Vincent supervisor.
Currently, the team from GRENLEC Grenada who arrived in the VI on October 9, 2017 is assisting with power restoration on Anegada, while BEL from Belize is working in Virgin Gorda. They arrived in the territory on September 26, 2017.
Speaking with Leroy A. E. Abraham, General Manager of BVIEC, he said, “I am very pleased that we have 44 linemen from seven different countries on the ground assisting us in rebuilding our grid and returning all of our lives to normal. I am very appreciative to all those countries.”