Govt considering BPL inquiry 

Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday his government is considering an inquiry into the affairs of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), but declined to say whether the matter will rise to a commission of inquiry.

While in opposition, Davis promised to hold publicly televised hearings into BPL due to what he said was no accountability or transparency into the decision-making at the utility.

Asked yesterday if he intends to follow through with his promise, he said, “There are a number of things that [are] on the table. We are looking into those matters now and the question is how far we take it.

“As you know, we have been inquiring [on] a number of issues that we thought needed some oversight and inquiry. Those are continuing and we will be making a decision.”

Asked if he intends to hold a commission of inquiry into BPL, the prime minister winked. 

The Guardian pressed Davis, “Yes or no prime minister?”

He replied, “We are considering some inquiries.

“You would have heard me say on a number of occasions where we are unable through the inquiry, what I call the anterior inquiry we are conducting, where we are unable to get information, there are ways and means of advancing that inquiry to another level to ensure that persons are compelled to respond and to provide the information that is necessary to come to a conclusion as to what has happened.

“What I am concerned about is not just what has happened, but I want to have recommendations from these inquires as to how best we can shore up our democracy, transparency and accountability and that we understand the pitfalls made by persons in governments that we would not fall in those pitfalls.”

In March 2021, six months before the Progressive Liberal Party was elected, Davis said in the House of Assembly, “There is no accountability; there is no transparency. The rate reduction bond will add more to our electricity bill and there appears to be no plan to reduce the cost of electricity to absorb that.

“In short, something smells fishy at BPL. Is this rate reduction bond designed in a way that will benefit investors at the expense of the Bahamian people?

“Unless the government comes clean, when we come into office, we will order a full-scale inquiry, and send for papers and persons both nationally and internationally, and conduct the proceedings live on national television, so that the Bahamian people can see for themselves any mismanagement and any corruption.”

Under the Minnis administration, BPL sought to issue a $530 million rate reduction bond, which promised a minimal increase in electricity and to allow for improvements at BPL, which in turn would reduce electricity rates in the long term.

However, the bond was never issued.

Last October, Davis criticized the Minnis administration for failing to get the bond done and called it a bad deal for Bahamians.

“To add insult to injury, the costs associated with the floundering attempt to obtain the bond, I am advised, is far in excess of $20 million,” he said.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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