By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The DNA's former leader yesterday said it was "damn pathetic and frustrating'" that a state-of-the art solar system at his wife's school continues to remain unused nearly four years after installation.
Branville McCartney hit out at the Ministry of Works' alleged failure to complete the inspection process, telling Tribune Business there has been no progress by the Government towards approving the solar system for use.
The system was installed by Alternative Power Supply (APS) at Windsor Prep, located in the Old Fort community, which is headed by Mr McCartney's wife, Lisa.
"The problem is the Government doesn't know what to do," Mr McCartney said. "They don't have anyone to inspect it properly. We want to do first world things but we continue to live in a third world country.
"It's damn pathetic and frustrating. This is happening to an educational institution, and this is what happens to businesses. The country cannot advance like this. With the amount of red tape and foolishness that you have to go through it's as if they don't want you in business."
Philip Holdom, president of APS, in a statement yesterday said the system was intended to be an educational tool to teach students about environmentally-sound technologies.
He added that he had also created a curriculum, and intended to teach classes on renewable energy, science and solar system mathematics, using the live, real-time solar system as an interactive tool in the classroom.
"The system has never been allowed to be turned on, and four years of students have received no benefit at all," Mr Holdom said. "In addition, a $5,000 battery bank was destroyed from not being solar charged. Alternative Power Supply is now watching the second battery bank it had to install suffer the same fate.
"We are extremely disappointed that such a valuable learning tool could not be used in the past four years to educate, train and encourage young persons to understand and embrace renewable energy. It is a complete tragedy that the students who so excitedly watched the system being installed have now graduated and never got to interact with the incredibly smart solar system."
Mr Holdom said APS submitted the required Ministry of Works 'Electrical A&E' form four times, and it now refuses to re-apply - at the Ministry's request - for a fifth time. He added that it was unbelievable that the system, which had passed a Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) inspection, and was installed to the highest standard remains out of commission.
"This school is a complete case study in why our standing on the world stage is abysmal in our 'Ease of Doing Business', because we have certain long-term public servants who hinder the progress of the nation, refuse to do their jobs in a professional manner and refuse to work in conjunction with local licensed businesses to bring about a win-win solution for the Bahamian public," Mr Holdom said.
"There are many public servants who do excellent work, but businesses are often held hostage by a few people that simply do not understand their primary duty to serve the public in a professional manner."