Davis hits at PM’s ‘stone silence’ on BPL

As he condemned a lack of transparency on recent issues at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to address the problems at the company.

His comments came amid continued load shedding across New Providence due to a generation shortfall at the utility company.

“The prime minister’s mishandling of BPL is breathtaking,” Davis said.

“His stone silence and deflections in the face of the public fallout are resulting in a precipitous deterioration in public confidence in his administration.

“There is indeed a trust deficit.”

He added, “So far reaching and harmful are the levels and depths of mismanagement at BPL that Prime Minister Minnis must act, not just because of political expediency, but because it is his duty to protect the well-being and best interests of the Bahamian people. After all, it’s supposed to be the people’s time.”

Earlier in the day, BPL executives hosted a press conference to address the generation issues. BPL Chief Executive Officer Whitney Heastie said he could not guarantee when the company will stop its load shedding exercises, describing BPL as being “on a cliff”.

As he noted that the company has an additional four generation units that now need repairs, Heastie said that even when those units are repaired, he cannot guarantee that another generator will not fail.

Responding to those statements, Davis said, “On a cliff? They are falling off that cliff.”

Davis also criticized the refusal of BPL executives to address questions regarding a probe into fires that took place at its plants last year.

“They promised to make the report public,” he said.

“They have not done so, and it’s typical of what we are now seeing. They say one thing, but do another.

“This is supposed to be a government of transparency and accountability. We would expect them to be transparent by responding to the questions, making available the report and explaining, if they have to, any issues that might arise in the report that speak to any real issue of culpability.”

He added, “They say they are the government of transparency and accountability. Have they been accountable to you in respect to this? Have they been transparent?”

In March, BPL announced that Finnish technology group Wartsila will install a new 132-megawatt engine power plant at Clifton at a cost of $95 million to increase the generation capacity on New Providence.

BPL Chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey has indicated that while the installation of rental generation will provide some relief from the outages, load shedding could be possible until the installation of that new plant is complete.

While executives initially said the plant will be completed in early fall, it was announced yesterday that the new expected completion date is mid-December.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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