Power problems strike gov’t buildings

Several critical government buildings in downtown George Town intermittently lost telephone communications and/or power over the last several days.

glass house fire

Fire services crews douse flames from a transformer explosion outside the Cayman Islands Government Administration Building Tuesday. Photo: submitted

The outages interrupted services at several government offices, including the main administration building and the police criminal records office on Tuesday.

Phone lines were also down for extended periods at the Central Police Station, the Glass House (central government administration), the Immigration Department, and at the government-run radio station Radio Cayman.

Problems with the phones started on Saturday, when Royal Cayman Islands Police first lost telephone lines at the George Town station. Public works crews and Caribbean Utilities Company were performing scheduled work in the area over the weekend, but it was unknown if that work had anything to do with the phone outage.

Over the next few days, police phones were ‘in and out,’ according to a department spokesperson. Callers were first advised to contact 911, and later were provided an alternate number to contact the George Town station.

Radio Cayman phone lines were also down for most of the weekend.

On Tuesday, a transformer explosion outside the Glass House on Elgin Avenue knocked out power to both the George Town police station and the government administration building. Fire crews responded quickly to put out the small blaze.

However, the Glass House was left without power for several hours, and the building eventually had to shut down while the power was restored. The facilities were open again by 2pm Tuesday, but government employees were told that elevators would remain out of use until main power was restored.

Immigration Department phones also went out sometime on Tuesday because of the transformer explosion. The police criminal records office was forced to shut down early because of the phone problems.

Caribbean Utilities Company was performing some work over the past weekend in the area to facilitate new electrical connections, according to spokesperson Pat Bynoe-Clarke.

‘Once the loads came up (Tuesday) morning, one of the service wires failed, causing an outage,’ Mrs. Bynoe-Clarke said, adding that crews worked as quickly as possible to restore the power.

Power was out to the police station for about 45 minutes Tuesday. The Glass House had its lights back on shortly after noon.