Maynard wrote PM about Wartsila deal
Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard said yesterday that he wrote to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis about the union’s concerns with Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) deal with Finnish technology group Wartsila to install a new 132-megawatt power plant at its Clifton Pier site.
“I have asked the prime minister, personally, to look at the situation, and he said he would, and he will get back to me,” Maynard said when called for comment.
“I need to give him an opportunity to deal with it before I comment on the situation.”
Maynard added, “I wrote a letter to him…last week Thursday, I believe, and he got back to me. Despite the fact that he was dealing with the Trump situation, he got back to me.”
Following the Wartsila announcement earlier this month, Maynard said he feared that Bahamians would be treated as “second class citizens” during the installation process, and spoke out against the possibility of foreigners being brought in to install the new equipment.
Asked yesterday how confident he is that Minnis will take action, Maynard said, “He said he’d get back to me, and I must take his word.”
Maynard added that he is not thinking about the union’s next steps if the consultation with Minnis does not lead to a favorable outcome.
“I’m not going down that road,” he said.
“I will take him at his word. I think he will deal with it.”
When the contract was announced, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said, “We are going to have to make sure that we fully rely on the experts to come in and do what they do best. We do not have anybody inside of BPL today that would understand Wartsila four-stroke engines. And so, we are relying on Wartsila to come and do what they do best around the world.”
However, Edmund Phillips, business development specialist for Wartsila, said the company will “always seek local labor first” and will aim to “use local staff where applicable”.
The engines will be manufactured in Trieste, Italy, and are expected to leave Italy in late March, according to Phillips.
He said it will take roughly two months to arrive in The Bahamas and four months to install.