50 years ago: Electricity distribution upgrades commence

In the April 12, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Brac correspondent Lilian Ritch wrote:

“It is not always in the sequence of duty that a workman enjoys the privilege of implementing his own plans. Yet such was the satisfaction and pleasure of a one week’s visit by Mr. J.L. Vanneman of Tampa Armature Works, Inc. last month to our island. The Board of Directors of the Cayman Brac Power and Light Co. Ltd. invited an old friend to guide them in a new stage of distribution development.

“With a scheme initiated in 1956, acting on the advice of the Kirkconnell shipping companies’ contacts with TAW Inc., Cayman Brac Power and Light Co. Ltd. requested this electrical engineering firm to inspect the layout being planned. TAW sent Mr. Vanneman. He recalls tramping along our road with Mr. Berkley Foster, then managing director and foreman of the pole erection. The blueprints for line construction which he drew up are dated July 8, 1958.

“The plant distribution lines were designed for three phase power, but up to the present time nothing but single phase has been required. Now that three phase power is coming into demand, the necessary transformer connections and meters are all that is required to supply customers. Three phase power is desirable and is the standard for industrial and large commercial motor installations, Mr. Vanneman informs us. Normally it is not practical to use above 5 h.p. on single phase. Mr. Vanneman came to instruct our line engineer in three phase installations.

“To realise that our power plant is designed for industrial development with minor extensions in the line where required is cause for great appreciation and thankfulness of the services rendered by Tampa Armature Works, Inc. as our construction and installation engineers, and in a deeper sense to the British Government, which is assisting us with a grant and insisted that the project should be implemented as a whole scheme.

“Three phase power has been installed at the Pioneer Block and Tile Industry and at the Pioneer Bakery, A.A. Foster and Son, proprietors.

“Mr. Vanneman brought greetings from Mr. Jake Turner, president of the company, who visited us in 1959 and 1960. Mr. Ruel McNab and Mr. Henry Freeman were the construction mechanics.

“Travellers are justifying Cayman Brac Airways’ improved service in the DC-3. On Sunday, March 26, [the plane] went out to Grand Cayman with a full load, having to leave one passenger for the following day. On Easter Monday, an excursion party of 25 enjoyed a day in the Brac, and we extended our welcome to the party, which included Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Kent Green, and we understand the combined bank staffs of Grand Cayman.”

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