FNM Destructive Policies have Crippled BEC


Burnout BEC Generator – Farmer’s Key, Exuma – June 2010.

Nassau, Bahamas — On September 17th 2003 the then Minister of Works & Utilities Bradley B Roberts announced in the Hon. House of Assembly an unprecedented reduction in the Bahamas Electricity Corporation Basic Rates across the board which became effective October 1st of 2003.

The announcement was well received around the Bahamas. The FNM party welcomed the newly announced rates but was quick to claim that this dividend was made possible only by the stewardship provided to the Corporation during the FNM’s two consecutive terms in office.

Since the FNM return to office, the Jr Minister Phenton Neymour and MP for South Beach with the support of Minister Earl Deveaux have over and repeatedly blamed BEC financial deterioration on the 2003 rate reduction. The PLP have on numerous occasions provided factual evidence to deny this bogus claim.

The FNM in September 2003 not only boldly endorsed the rate reduction as being possible only by their stewardship during their term in office and yet unashamedly on the other hand blames the PLP. This is a classical case of double mindedness. The plain and simple truth is that Phenton Neymour and Earl Deveaux were both sound asleep at the wheel during the record oil price crisis (when Oil was at $147 per barrel) and allowed the Corporation to fully absorb Custom Duty & Stamp Tax on BEC Oil Imports which the Corp. was unable to bear as a result of the sharp spike in oil and is the major reason BEC finds itself with one foot on the banana peel and the other in the proverbial grave.??The Public will recall that BEC’s former Chairman Frederick Gottlieb disclosed to the press in February 2009 that BEC was aiming to come “within $1 to $2 Million of breaking even” by the end of its financial year September 2009″.

Jr. Minister Phenton Neymour has disclosed that the actual loss for the year ending September 2009 was placed at $20 Million. Could this be the reason why Frederick Gottlieb resigned and washed his hands off this terrible and dismal mismanagement of the Corporation as a result of political interference? The Ministers had failed to provide an explanation as to why BEC’s actual performance was so drastically different when compared with the then able Chairman’s forecast?

The FNM now seeks to find a way out of the very grave state BEC finds itself in as a result of political interference by Ministers whose policies caused the Corporation to hit an all time low. This much was acknowledged by the GM when he said “We are unable to procure various parts and equipment and this has affected our ability to adhere to some of the maintenance schedules”. This very simple and straight forward statement is in direct and blatant contrast to the disclosure made by Jr. Minister Phenton Neymour during a recent contribution in the House of Assembly.

During his contribution the Jr. Minister boldly assured New Providence and Paradise Island residences that the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) had made the necessary preparations for the summer months and that power outages were not foreseeable.

Contrary to the misleading assurances given by the of Jr Minister Neymour, our sources have informed us that BEC power plants in New Providence and several family Islands will not be able to meet the summer power demands and the Generators have not been properly maintained.

Farmers Cay in the Exuma is an example; one of its two Generators was recently completely destroyed by fire and the remaining engine is in need of maintenance. A promise to provide a rented generator is likely to be conditional on BEC being able to obtain credit.