Minister of Finance and East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest told the Grand Bahama Power Company to either quickly restore services to the entire island or hand over the responsibility to the government.
Turnquest said the company has not been sensitive to the needs of Grand Bahamians in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which leveled parts of the island in early September.
“This weekend, I had a really restless night on Saturday,” he said in the House of Assembly on Wednesday night.
“It was cold in Grand Bahama, and we have residents who are still in tents.
“…How are we going to get electricity back into East Grand Bahama? Even the Freeport areas of my constituency are still challenged with respect to electricity.
“And I said to the power company that I was going to call their names today, because I don’t believe they understand or they are sensitive to the needs of the people in my area or the needs of other areas of Grand Bahama.
“And they have a moral and ethical responsibility, as well as a financial fiduciary responsibility given the franchise that they have — act and provide the service.”
Turnquest was also critical of the port authority’s performance as a utilities regulator.
“And I say to the Grand Bahama Port Authority as the regulator of that utility, you have a fiduciary responsibility to act to ensure that service is provided to the people,” he said.
“You can’t just decide unilaterally that you’re not going to provide a service. That’s not the relationship.
“To those who have the responsibility, exercise it. Otherwise, divest yourself of it and give it to the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority so that they can do what needs to be done. But at the end of the day, we need electricity in East Grand Bahama.”
Turnquest had the same message for the Grand Bahama Utility Company.
“Similarly, they need water, potable water in Grand Bahama,” he said.
“And again, the regulator and the provider, in an incestuous relationship; [if] they are not prepared to do what needs to be done, then they ought to divest themselves of the regulatory responsibility and give it to somebody who is prepared to do what is necessary.”