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Osborne on Alston: A sad day for BPL

Former BPL Executive Chairman Darnell Osborne said yesterday that she was surprised and deeply saddened to learn of the resignation of former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Chief Operations Officer (COO) Christina Alston.

Alston tendered her resignation over the weekend, effective immediately.

In a statement on the matter, Osborne said, “The news of Christina’s departure really caught me by surprise like so many other people.

“During my time as chairman of Bahamas Power & Light, we sought Mrs. Alston for multiple reasons.

“To fulfill the prime minister’s mandate, to bring talented Bahamians back home, to focus on Family Island development [and] to simply reduce electricity cost by streamlining our procurement department.

“Like every organization we had our challenges and growing pains, but I can say without hesitation that she added value to the executive team.”

Osborne noted that Alston had a hands-on approach and was known to work in the field with her teams at a moment’s notice to observe, advise and revise procedures if warranted.

“Sadly, the opportunity that she had looked forward to for many years, came to an abrupt end last week for unknown reasons,” she continued.

“She telephoned me on Friday evening to express her gratitude for the opportunity afforded her to serve the Bahamian people.

“In my opinion, it is indeed a sad day for BPL and the country as the opportunity has once again been lost to attract and retain one of The Bahamas’ best and brightest minds and talent.”

An internal email from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Whitney Heastie on Saturday advising some employees of Alston’s leave was obtained by The Nassau Guardian.

The email said, “Until further advised, direct reports of Mrs. Alston will continue to report as they have been doing during her most recent vacation.”

Save for its confirmation of the matter, BPL said it has no further comment.

Osborne noted yesterday that she had followed Alston’s educational path at Florida State University and subsequent career in the utilities business, first at Florida Power & Light and then at Georgia Transmission (GT), through her family member.

“One of her biggest aspirations was fulfilled to return home to be of service to her country,” she said.

“That opportunity came in October 2017 when she was hired at BPL as chief operating officer.

“She resigned from GT, sold her house and relocated her husband (a Microsoft computer engineer) and two of her four children back to The Bahamas, the home of her birth and took up her post at BPL.”

The company continues to experience upheaval with its executive team, even months after the government appointed an entirely new board in August 2018.

At the time, Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister said that relationships among board members had significantly deteriorated to a point where the board had locked horns on almost every critical issue at great cost to the company, necessitating new leadership.

The former board was made up of Osborne, Nick Dean, Nicola Thompson, Patrick Rollins, Ferron Bethel and BPL CEO Whitney Heastie.

 Osborne, Thompson and Dean are suing the government over the fallout.

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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