Barbadians cannot continue to live by the mantra that ‘God is a Bajan’ Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams has said.
Abrahams said although the island had not suffered any major damage from weather systems in recent times it was just a matter of time before that “luck” changed.
He said it was for this reason Government had embarked on the Disaster Risk Energy Access Management (DREAM) Project, to better prepare persons in the event Barbados was affected by a serious weather system.
Abrahams made the comments during the ‘Flip the Switch’ ceremony at the St Mark’s Resource Centre in Blades Hill, St Philip yesterday.
As part of the $3 million DREAM project, Government will be installing photovoltaic solar panels on 22 community centres across the island.
The Ivy Community Centre was the first to be commissioned two weeks ago.
The photovoltaic system will allow the community centres to still have electricity in the event of a disaster.
“We keep saying God is a Bajan, so years ago when there was an announcement that a weather system was coming you would see people rushing to stock up and board up their house and putting tapes around the windows, but now most Bajans don’t do it anymore because we believe it isn’t going to hit us. But we are playing the odds,” Abrahams said.
According to him, the project would allow communities to be more resilient against these natural disasters, as the outfitted community centres would serve as a hub for residents.
The Minister said residents would be able to utilize the electricity provided to refrigerate medication and charge cellphones.
“We are decentralizing what we are doing. Right now the (Barbados) Light and Power is responsible for the majority of generation of electricity in Barbados, but it is on Spring Garden, right there by the sea at sea level.
“If a major system hits Barbados…the Light and Power is going to be wiped out and it will take forever to get back up and running,” Abrahams said.
He said practically and logistically speaking St Philip would be one of the last parishes to get reconnected.
The Minister suggested residents would be in a better position to navigate in such an event thanks to the photovoltaic system.