The Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology Sen. Hon. Dr James Fletcher is denouncing a growing trend of reported incidents of stolen government monitoring equipment in various locations on the island.
The latest incident took place on Wednesday February 12, 2014 in Deglos where bandits stole over US$12,000 of equipment, including a Solar Panel and a Rainfall Logger. This is a growing concern as similar equipment were stolen in Bexon about a week ago.
Addressing the Upper Chamber of the House of Assembly on Thursday February 13, 2014, Minister Fletcher condemned the incidents of threat, saying they place the lives of many people at risk.
“These thieves are putting people’s lives and limbs at risk just to steal the batteries and other parts of the equipment, they have even stolen the solar panels.
“I know we are pushing renewable energy in Saint Lucia, but if people really want renewable Energy and solar photovoltaic panels for something they want to do then come in and talk to the Ministry responsible for Energy and we will try to help you out but do not steal the solar panels from the river monitoring equipment.
“The entire system in Bexon was recently stolen and Bexon is the community which is perhaps impacted most frequently and severely by weather systems and flooding, somebody found nothing better to do than to go and steal the monitoring equipment in Bexon, I mean come on this is unacceptable”.
The police are following some leads in an effort to recover the stolen equipment.
Investigations have revealed that the battery used to power the river monitoring equipment can also be used in motorcycles.
Dr Fletcher says the growing trend is worrisome and must be dealt with.
“We have to understand that this cannot be a constant situation where government continues to pump resources to replace equipment for people to continue stealing. The government doesn’t not have infinite resources but even more so we cannot be doing things that are putting the lives of our families and our love-ones at risk, so I would really like to implore those people involved in stealing the equipment to stop it”.
Citizens are encouraged to assist authorities in recovering the stolen equipment by reporting any relevant information to the police.