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Apr 25, 2005

More sabotage of B.E.L. lines over weekend

Story Picture“It’s been a cat and mouse game; we just have to try and get out there as quickly as we can to repair the damage.” That’s how Belize Electricity Limited chief executive officer, Lynn Young, describes the acts of sabotage affecting his company and the public’s supply of power. The latest acts of vandalism, a total of four, occurred over the weekend and resulted in damage to B.E.L.’s transmission facilities in the north and west of the country. Young says the crimes being committed have already cost B.E.L. in excess of one million dollars. In fact, Young says since the first act of sabotage on April nineteenth, it has been difficult to keep up with the saboteurs.

Lynn Young, C.E.O., Belize Electricity Ltd.
?You know we had six poles that were cut down with chainsaws and we really couldn?t try to repair that permanently. So what we have been doing is repair it slowly and we had a little bit of outages here and there to do it, but since then on Friday, we had two poles burned in Spanish Lookout area, that?s the line from Mollejon; that was Friday night. On Saturday we had two poles from the Bella Vista area burned. Sunday night we had somebody threw a wire across the lines from C.F.E. and grounded out the line. It took us until one o?clock to find it. In the meantime, what has happened is the water, we have had to use a lot of the water from Mollejon, so it has run down the water in the reservoir, so we are in a very, very difficult situation. I do not know if it is the result of all of these sudden surges in our system, but we have had some damages to the gas turbine now, the transducers in the gas turbine. So the gas turbine is out right now while the guys try to repair the damage to that also, so it is a very, serious situation. I think we will be having outages at least for the next two weeks or maybe more as we try to repair. We have about four different spots on the transmission line where poles have been burnt or cut down and we have basically just patch them temporarily to keep the power going.?

?The B.D.F. has been patrolling, I know they have intense patrols along the lines and we have also gotten a helicopter to fly over the line to try and spot anything that is going on. We?ve been successful, we?ve caught a couple of the poles before they were burnt down, but it?s been a cat and mouse game and we just have to try and get out there as quickly as we can and repair the damage. And our guys are getting kind a tired too. They have been out all weekend, chasing behind these acts of sabotage.?

?We will have to have scheduled outages to repair the damages, because when you take out the line from Mexico, for example, to put in new poles, we do not have enough water in Mollejon to keep the system going, so we will have to have scheduled outages to do that. What we want to try and do is to do the repair during the day so that we have enough water to supply power at night.?

?These people seem to think that they are going to break up the place to save the place, I don?t know if, that? s a kind of backward logic to me, but that?s what they seem to be doing.?

Young added that there were additional acts of vandalism to B.E.L. property during Wednesday night’s looting in Belize City. He says he is proud of his entire staff, especially the linesmen who have been working very long hours to repair the damage as it occurs. B.E.L. encourages the public to report any act of vandalism by calling their toll free number at 0-800-BEL-CARE or 0-800-235-2273 or the nearest police station. A reward will be offered to any person who makes a report, which leads to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. Meanwhile, B.E.L. says as plans are finalised, the public will be advised as to when they can expect the scheduled outages.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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