The PLP reminds the Leader of the Opposition Dr Hubert Minnis that the FNM Government announced the appointments of Statutory Boards and Committees on July 8th 2007, with the effect from 1st July 2007. To suggest that it is inexcusable that a full Board of BEC has not been appointed is hypercritical and rank political posturing.
Clearly suffering from selective memory, the PLP reminds the FNM that it was under their watch that the Bahamas Electricity Corporation fell into a state of disrepair due to maintenance neglect and mismanagement resulting in increased consume rates and thousands of families being forced to live without electricity. The botched installation of the Abaco Power Plant which still requires the running of the new and the old Plants.
As late as February of this year, the PLP joined thousands of irate Bahamian home-keepers and business owners in expressing grave concern about the apparent great inefficiencies which were plaguing BEC over the past three years due to this neglect. Blackouts continue to this day because of the neglect of the FNM.
At that time the Progressive Liberal Party expressed grave concerns with the very serious financial state of affairs that had beset the Bahamas Electricity Corporation since 2007. We were informed that the Corporation was seriously challenged to pay its oil bill and the then chairman Michael Moss confirmed a BEC oil debt in excess of $120 million which represented a sizable amount of the Country’s Foreign Banking Reserves.
We advised the general public then of the state of the power generation plants at the corporation. We were advised that Station (A) at the Clifton Power Station was closed in 2011 because of imminent danger to workers (one of whom narrowly escape serious injury). Further, the closure of Station (A) that housed 4 Ten Megawatts Generators was due to the steady deterioration of the infrastructure. This avoidable condition at Station (A) was the result of Corporation’s failure or inability to maintain the Building which housed Station A.
The PLP warned the general public at that time that BEC was obliged once again to seek the return of Stand-By Generators, a repeat of last year’s scenario that resulted in higher costs per kwh and increased customer bills. This contributed to more stress on its already overburdened customer base. At that time some six thousands households in New Providence are forced to live without electricity.
Due to this abject mismanagement and neglect, all indications pointed to the return of the same levels of load-shedding (with the stand-by generators) that was experienced last summer and before.
The PLP points out again that it was shameful that under five years of FNM management, BEC was unable to acquire any new Generators at the Clifton Power Plant to be used as the base plant utilizing low cost bunker C Fuel. It was equally shameful and even more disturbing that BEC intended to purchase another Gas Turbine Generator for its Blue Hill Plant, a move that will not bring relief but drive the cost of electricity up.
The PLP went to great pains to point out to the Bahamian people the gross neglect and mismanagement BEC suffered at the hands of the FNM government. No amount of political grandstanding and Rip Van Winkle posturing on the part of the FNM opposition will excuse them from their colossal failures while in government.
The PLP reminds the FNM that its executive Chairman Michael Moss in March insisted that the Nation was “not going to have blackouts” during the summer of 2012.
BEC is in a critical state both financially and operationally and it will take focused leadership and planning to navigate this corporation out the treacherous waters a leaderless and rudderless FNM government steered it into. The PLP has the vision and political will to turn BEC around.
We did it before and we will do it again.