Monday, Jul 22, 2019
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Roberts hits out at Moss and FNM over BEC

Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Bradley Roberts said yesterday the claim that the PLP mismanaged the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is nothing but propaganda.

Roberts said it is the Free National Movement (FNM) government that is mismanaging BEC.

On Monday, Chairman of BEC Michael Moss said in a statement that the PLP mismanaged the corporation during the years it was in office.  He provided a summary of a 2006 financial report which showed BEC’s finances were troubled.

Moss said that he was responding to repeated claims by Roberts that the corporation’s finances were sound under the Christie administration.

Roberts said Earl Deveaux and Phenton Neymour (the ministers with responsibility for BEC) “were both sound asleep at the wheel during the record oil price crisis” when oil was at $147 per barrel, and allowed the corporation to fully absorb customs duty and stamp tax on BEC oil imports which the corporation was unable to bear as a result of the sharp spike in oil.”

He said this is the major reason BEC finds itself “with one foot on the banana peel and the other in the proverbial grave.”

Roberts said, “After realizing the seriousness of their folly, the Free National Movement set out on a plan to lay the blame of the serious damage caused by their own failure to pass on the cost of the sharp increase in oil prices, with the shameless bogus claim that the reduction in rates in 2003 was the reason.”

Roberts said that in 2003 both the FNM and PLP were on one accord regarding the rate reductions at BEC.

He said the FNM government engaged a number of consultants to justify blaming the 2003 rate reduction for BEC’s financial woes.

“These reports and the associated cost were never tabled in the House of Assembly despite repeated requests by the Official Opposition,” he said.

But Moss gave other reasons for BEC’s troubles.

He said, “The ill-advised and ill-conceived rate reduction imposed on BEC under the watch of the PLP chairman set BEC squarely onto a progressively deteriorating financial spiral.”

Moss said Monday that the rate increase introduced in 2010, that restored BEC’s tariff to about the same position it was 18 years ago, has stopped the massive hemorrhaging at BEC.

But Roberts said, “The FNM’s record of massive mismanagement of BEC has manifested itself with the constant blackouts during the past three summers resulting in damage to consumers’ appliances and equipment.

“As a result of mismanagement, the FNM imposed higher electricity rates on the backs of struggling Bahamians.”

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