Davis: PM should consider removing Bannister

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis should consider asking Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister to resign.

“I think the prime minister should review the portfolio and determine whether [Bannister] should continue holding that portfolio,” Davis told The Nassau Guardian.

He added, “For him (Bannister) to say there’s no crisis because his lights are off too is really showing the arrogance and lack of leadership that is required for BPL.”

The opposition leader said Bannister, who has ministerial responsibility for BPL, has been “fumbling” the ball with the power company since his appointment in 2017.

Davis, who served as minister of public works during the Christie administration, described the current BPL board as “inefficient and not up to the task that is required of them”.

For nearly two months, communities on New Providence have been rocked with hours-long periods of blackouts as part of BPL’s load shedding exercise.

Over the weekend, BPL conducted nearly four-hour-long load shedding exercises.

While noting that he was suffering from the recent power cuts, Bannister told The Nassau Guardian over the weekend that the situation being faced by BPL is “not a matter of crisis” despite constant load shedding.

On Tuesday, in a statement, BPL Director of Public Relations Quincy Parker said the company is investigating the causes of the outages.

“…We can confirm that three of our major generation assets were out of service, which exacerbated the challenges we are facing during the summer months,” Parker said.

“The failure of these assets extended the periods of load shedding which we were forced to undertake. BPL management would like to thank the generation team for their continuing hard and brilliant work as they seek to return these assets to the grid.

“We would like to assure our customers that we are vigorously pursuing every available course of action to address these obstacles, in particular, the rate reduction bond process, which will allow BPL to access a much-needed capital infusion at this critical time in our ongoing development.”

The power company also apologized for the outages over the weekend.

“We recognize the inconvenience such outages cause to our community and we are working diligently to address the issues raised by aging infrastructure and a transmission and distribution grid in need of an upgrade,” Parker said.

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.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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