Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ response to the issues plaguing Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and its inability to keep the lights on “thin and uninspiring”.
“It was uninspiring and it all appears to be a band-aid approach that they are applying,” Davis said.
“They’re taking a band-aid approach to it.
“The fact is blackouts are still remaining [and] load shedding is continuing. We still don’t have a clear view of what their plan is for BPL.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Minnis vowed to do whatever it takes to alleviate BPL’s nearly three-month long load shedding exercises.
He said a six-man team of specialists from the United States arrived on New Providence to assist BPL, noting that they have already started working with the intention of returning “an additional 20 megawatts (MW) of power to service” the Blue Hills Power Station.
But Davis said the government’s decision to lay off more than 300 BPL employees last year resulted in a shortage of individuals qualified to address the ongoing challenges at the power company.
“Is it too little too late?” Davis asked.
“From my own personal knowledge, BPL was properly staffed to address issues such as what we’re facing today without the necessity of importing assistance.”
In a statement on Wednesday, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said the board of BPL should be fired immediately for their “abject failure and mismanagement” of BPL.
“The Progressive Liberal Party again calls for the dismissal of the entire board of BPL,” Mitchell said.
“They are colossal failures. If they do not go then the minister and ultimately the prime minister must share the shame and the blame for their failures.”
He added, “People are so fed up with this government and the lights going off, that they are being pushed to the brink of social disorder and massive civic protests. The PLP will support these lawful protests if there is no action taken to solve this crisis.”
Since May, residents on New Providence have suffered through hours of constant load shedding exercises as BPL attempts to meet the high demand for electricity.
On Sunday, BPL CEO Whitney Heastie said he could not guarantee an end to load shedding exercises in the immediate future, describing BPL as being “on a cliff”.
Heastie said BPL needs 250 MW of generation in order to meet the summer demand.
However, it is currently running on 210 MW, including 105 MW of rental generation.
Heastie said the 40-MW shortfall has led to load shedding across New Providence.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications