Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 24th 2015 Contents The route to being that
elusive, enigmatic crea-
ture, an entrepreneur,
was neither a straight line nor a
conscious choice for Herbert
"Haz" Samuel, the Anthony N
Sabga Caribbean Awards for
Excellence Laureate in Entrepre-
neurship in 2015.
Samuel s innovative web app,
Welectricity, has been called a
"game changer" in the energy
conservation movement, and has
users in 112 countries. (The app
can be found at
Samuel was born in St Vincent
& The Grenadines, and attended
UWI, St Augustine, where he
qualified as an industrial engineer.
He returned home in 1982 to work
as the first energy officer in the
government of SVG, thereafter
with the island s electricity
authority, Vinlec, and from there
to a regional engineering firm,
CEP and then to Carilec in Saint
Lucia. He has worked as an inde-
pendent energy consultant since
2007 and he currently works with
regional and international clients.
These include the Caricom
Renewable Energy Development
Programme (CREDP-GIZ) and the
World Bank, where he is a member
of a team building out a global
network of innovation centres that
empower entrepreneurs to build
businesses tackling energy and
Samuel s first entrepreneurial
venture was done without any
expectation of reward, or even the
knowledge that it was a venture,
which was a good thing, as it
turned out. Samuel describes him-
self as a "Jazz fanatic", and lived
in St Lucia at the time the St Lucia
Jazz Festival was launched in the
These were also the early days
of the Internet and, he says, look-
ing for information on the festival
on the Cable and Wireless Web
site, and finding none, he decided
to build his own website for the
This was purely for his own
edification and as an incidental
public service, collecting infor-
mation on performers and venues
and putting it online for the ben-
efit of others like him. At this
point, these were the early days
of the worldwide web, and the
value of Internet presence was not
recognised by the authorities, so
Samuel maintained the web site
for several years.
Eventually, he recalls, "I
approached the St Lucia Jazz Fes-
tival to purchase the site, but they
did not agree. So I continued to
do it for myself." They did even-
tually purchase the domain name
as the scope of the Web as a pro-
motional tool grew.
But this was a revelatory
moment for him. To be an entre-
preneur in the Caribbean is to be
a Columbus-like figure: a man
or woman driven by an idea which
he must convince an often
unyieldingly skeptical investor is
The ideas themselves come
from a number of places, from the
mundane to flash of insight, and
might be pursued in isolation for
years before it is commercially
viable, if that moment ever comes.
The whole process is fraught
with failure. "The culture of the
Caribbean needs to change," says
Samuel. "People need to be given
the chance to fail, without any
stigma attached. Sometimes it s
the failure that leads you to the
For Samuel, the insight which
led to his creation of Welectricity
came when a friend asked for help
to size a solar electricity system
for a home he was constructing.
Analysing the energy consumption
of his friend s household (four
people) compared to his own (two
people), Samuel realised that the
relation was not simple arithmetic:
that is, two people in a similar
housing situation did not consume
half as much as four -- and that
the difference was driven by
This insight into the asymmetric
relationship between consump-
tion, population and resources was
not unique. Samuel notes that the
insight was first described in the
work of the 19th Century British
economist, William Stanley
Jevons, who proposed a paradox
in his 1856 book, The Coal Ques-
tion, that increasing the technical
efficiency of an energy consuming
system would not necessarily
reduce energy consumption.
Samuel realised that logic and
moral suasion would not deter
unnecessary energy consumption,
a matter of critical importance to
people living on islands and reliant
on imported energy.
"The thing is," he says, "a flat
screen TV might be left on not
because you want to see a show.
It might be left on because it is
attractive to look at."
Skinny jeans can seriously damage mus-
cles and nerves, doctors have said.
A 35-year-old woman had to be cut out of
a pair after her calves ballooned in size, the
medics said in the Journal of Neurology,
Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
She had spent hours squatting to empty
cupboards for a house move in Australia. By
evening, her feet were numb and she found
it hard to walk.
Doctors believe the woman developed a
condition called compartment syndrome,
made worse by her skinny jeans.
Compartment syndrome is a painful and
potentially serious condition caused by
bleeding or swelling within an enclosed bun-
dle of muscles---in this case, the calves.
The condition caused the woman to trip
and fall and, unable to get up, she then spent
several hours lying on the ground.
On examination at the Royal Adelaide
Hospital, her lower legs were severely
Although her feet were warm and had
enough blood supplying them, her muscles
were weak and she had lost some feeling.
As the pressure had built in her lower legs,
her muscles and nerves became damaged.
She was put on an intravenous drip and
after four days was able to walk unaided.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Skinny jeans given health warning
Continues on Page A30
Haz Samuel with his 2015 co-laureates. At left, back, Prof Patrick Hosein; Haz Samuel, Prof Suresh Narine, Dr Paloma Mohamed Martin. Front row, Dr
Anthony N Sabga and Sir Shridath Ramphal.
Links Archive June 23rd 2015 June 25th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page