Minnis committed to ‘proper’ BPL investigation
The “terms and references” of the government’s planned investigation into Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) are being considered and will be presented to the board in short order, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
“We will do the proper investigation,” the prime minister said.
“I am committed to that. I am committed to that.”
The prime minister promised to investigate the matters that unfolded among some former members of the BPL board and Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.
On August 22, Minnis said he met with the some past BPL board members and informed them that in light of what was transpiring the government will initiate a proper investigation, and when complete, it will be made available.
He made the announcement after three former BPL board members resigned and the remaining three were removed.
That board was made up of Darnell Osborne, who was the executive chairperson, Nick Dean; Nicola Thompson; Patrick Rollins; Ferron Bethel; and BPL CEO Whitney Heastie.
Bannister said that relationships within the board had broken down and the board locked horns on almost every issue.
He said it was a great cost to the power company.
Osborne, Dean and Thompson have refuted Bannister’s assertions and claimed “political interference” and continuous “political disrespect” toward the executive chairperson were at the root of the former board’s dysfunction.
Bannister later admitted there was political interference, but claimed it was after he learned BPL paid for a makeup bill and a home security system for Osborne, who has denied those assertions.
This week, Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader Chester Cooper called on the government to allow an independent team to investigate the matter.
BPL’s board, now chaired by Donovan Moxey, has been faced with challenges.
A fire at BPL’s Clifton Pier Power Station on Friday night destroyed a generator, prompting BPL to load shed.
Two more fires erupted at the site on Sunday night and Monday morning, though BPL said these subsequent incidents did not impact operations and will not mean further load shedding.
The prime minister was asked whether he was concerned about BPL’s operations.
“Investigations are going on, so I would not want to preempt any [investigation],” he said.
“I and the rest of The Bahamas are watching.”
He added, “Electricity is too expensive in this country.
“Individuals are paying two mortgages.
“The electricity rate is just as high as the mortgages. That is not fair.
“That has to be resolved. Both must come down: the ‘mortgage’ from the electricity and the mortgage of the home. Both must come down and that’s our mandate.
“We will bring them down.”