Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Newbold: Still no word on BPL probe

Bahamas Power and Light headquarters.

While Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has on several occasions, committed to probing matters between the former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) board and the minister responsible, seven weeks later there has been no firm indication that the probe has progressed beyond his pronouncement.

During his press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister this week, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold was again asked about the prime minister’s promised BPL investigation and whether the government was concerned about a perception in some quarters that the prime minister will not move forward with the investigation.

Although he could not say how soon the public could expect the investigation to get underway, Newbold stressed, “The prime minister is not about to sweep anything under the rug.

“He has promised an investigation. You will have that investigation.

“People may not like the investigation or the results of it, but he is not about to sweep anything under the rug.

“One of the things Prime Minister Minnis has been known for – he has talked about [it] all the time – no tolerance for corruption, and certainly he is not going to sweep anything under the rug.”

Newbold was asked for any specifics, including which team or entity the government was eyeing to take charge of the probe.

However he said the prime minister had not indicated that as yet.

He was also asked whether that potential team or entity would be independent or comprised of the government.

“Whatever the parameters of that investigation are, the prime minister will let us know,” he said.

The prime minister was asked about the probe earlier this month, but shied away from any details.

“We have been in discussion and we will do it as soon as possible,” he told reporters, who questioned him upon his arrival in New Providence from New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly.

He did not say whom he had been in discussions with.

“I have said that we will investigate; we will investigate, and when that’s completed you will receive the results,” he said.

Former BPL Executive Chairperson Darnell Osborne and other BPL board members were replaced by a new board amid a series of allegations.

At the time, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the relationships among the old board members had significantly deteriorated, and they were at odds on almost every critical issue at great cost to the company, which ultimately necessitated new leadership.

Osborne and former board members Nicola Thompson and Nick Dean refuted Bannister’s claims, calling them “untrue, inaccurate and misleading”.

On August 22, Minnis said he met with 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.

The former board members said “political interference” and “continuous disrespect” toward Osborne 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.

Progressive Liberal Party Deputy Leader Chester Cooper called on the government to allow an independent team to investigate the matter.

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