Darville says govt needs to do more to lower electricity costs

Prgressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator Dr. Michael Darville said yesterday the Christie administration was in such dire straits with the Grand Bahama Power Company that he had to beg the company to reconnect electricity to public institutions on that island.

“I remember when we were government in the former administration and the then company, the Grand Bahama Power Company, that is fully operated by Emera [Caribbean Holdings Limited], decided to cut the electricity off on all public institutions on the island of Grand Bahamas,” said Darville in the Senate.

“I remember distinctly going into the office and begging them to please not turn off our essential services, which [are] schools and our hospitals.

“This was a great concern for the government then, because, like this present government, we had a shortage of capital to meet our commitments and we had to find the wiggling room necessary to prioritize what was important in the country.

“So, I know what the cost of electricity can do to our public infrastructure as well as all of our essential services.”

Senators debated the Value-Added Tax (Amendment No. 2) Bill, 2018.

The bill seeks to raise the VAT exemption on electricity bills from $200 and under to $300 and under from November 2018 to July 2019.

While he supported the bill, Darville said it won’t “really help anybody”.

“I believe our deputy leader, Chester Cooper, in the other place, summed up this bill as a failed maneuver by the government to throw crumbs off the Cabinet table to help the poor,” he said.

“It’s mere crumbs. You could find money to do whatever you want, but you throw crumbs. You know what’s amazing? They throw the crumbs off and want to take it back on July 1, 2019.”

Darville continued, “It will be unchristian for any member in this honorable place not to support any form of relief to anybody. I support it. But that is not my position today.

“My position is that the government needs to do more. It needs to do more.”

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Sloan Smith

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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