Sears: I would be conflicted if I were to review BPL report

Minister of Works and Utilities Alfred Sears said yesterday he will not review a probe into Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) because it would be a conflict of interest.

Before he was elected to Parliament and appointed to Cabinet, Sears, a Queen’s Counsel, represented former BPL Executive Chairperson Darnell Osborne after she and other former board members filed a legal action, which is still pending, following their dismissal from the power company’s board.

On Wednesday, Office of the Prime Minister Press Secretary Clint Watson said the probe was submitted to the government in November 2020 and was sent to Sears for his review.

However, Sears denied that that is the case yesterday.

 He said that on Wednesday he received a call from a reporter asking him if he had received the report, and he indicated that he had not.

“Any report that would come to me would be sent to the attorney general because clearly in that matter, I would be conflicted. I would not deliberate over a matter in which I was the lawyer outside of the government and certainly, I made and had no deliberation in this matter.”

Sears said he will recuse himself from anything related to the probe.

He said the matter is now in the hands of Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

Sears said any questions on the matter should be directed to the Office of the Prime Minister because it commissioned the probe (under the previous administration).

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis promised the government will launch an investigation into the matters that unfolded relating to some former members of the BPL board and Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

A new board replaced Osborne and other BPL board members amid a series of allegations.

At the time, Bannister said the relationships among the old board members had significantly deteriorated, and they were at odds on almost every critical issue at great cost to the company, which ultimately necessitated new leadership.

Osborne and former board members Nicola Thompson and Nick Dean refuted Bannister’s claims, calling them “untrue, inaccurate and misleading”.

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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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