NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper yesterday reiterated calls for the government to produce a comprehensive business plan and strategy paper for Bahamas Power and Light.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) deputy leader underscored that operational decisions concerning the electricity provider seem “dizzying, haphazard and ad-hoc”, during his contribution to the supplementary budget debate.
He said: “I must also express deep concern for what the government is not telling us about BPL and how nothing in this budget reflects what is being planned for BPL that the minister refuses to tell us.
“When we bring up BPL in this place, or the scandal involving the termination of the former chairman and board, we are told by the minister responsible that we must not talk about it because it is before the courts.
Cooper said: “Now we must all sit silently by while our assets are sold off without so much as a by your leave by the Parliament of The Bahamas?”
“We are also told we must not ask about the terms of this deal because the United States Securities and Exchange Commission supposedly has ordered a quiet period? So, what?
“Are we more accountable in this place to a federal agency of the United States than to the Bahamian people who put us here?”
He continued: “The chairman of BPL’s recent statements state in no uncertain terms that BPL bills will increase by 15 percent of average monthly use. You came and told the Bahamian people it would increase $20 – $30 in average. I take no delight in saying I told you so. This might have been amusing if it wasn’t so distressing.
“How are we not to be concerned that this might lead to a further recession of the Bahamian economy? To tell us we are looking at 15 percent increase in energy bills is no joke. We are told nothing definitive on this.”
Cooper reiterated calls for a strategy paper and business plan for BPL to be tabled in Parliament.
“We call on the minister again, to lay the comprehensive business plan and strategy paper for BPL on the table. As it stands, its decisions seem dizzying, haphazard and ad-hoc,” he said.
Works Minister Desmond Bannister told Parliament last November that the issuance of the rate reduction bonds is expected to lead to a temporary increase in the average household billing of an average of $20 to $30 monthly for about 10 months in 2020.