President of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons Marilyn Rice-Bowen has expressed concern about the inability of elderly persons to remain in contact with others during power outages.
She was speaking to the media briefly on the impact that Thursday’s island wide power outage had on the association’s membership, many of whom not only lost electricity service but the ability to use their fibre-fed landlines.
Unlike the traditional copper-based lines, the fibre landline system needs electricity to work and as many homes do not have battery packs to ensure continued connectivity during a power outage, many senior citizens were cut off.
“That is something that maybe we should start to build some advocacy around because really and truly, it is a major inconvenience when you have paid Flow for a service and the electricity goes off and you are without service. Not everybody has a cell phone, so truly it was an inconvenience. Seven hours of inconvenience can only be called pressure,” Rice-Bowen said during a media briefing at the Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Friday.
“As it happened in the day, the challenges were not as extensive but if it had gone into the night or if people were coming into darkened spaces, it would have been a major challenge, because then you would have found people scrambling to light candles and to light lanterns and all that and then you have to look at fire hazards. So, from that angle, it would have been an even deeper concern.” (JB)