Former BPL chair “shocked” by COO resignation

Former Bahamas Power and Light Chairman, Darnell Osborne.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Former Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Executive Chairperson Darnell Osborne said yesterday that the resignation of Christina Alston as BPL’s Chief Operations Officer last Friday came as a shock and represents a “sad day for BPL”.

Christina Alston, former BPL COO (Facebook Photo)

Crediting her for her hands-on approach, work ethic and keenness to work with her team in the field, Osborne said, “In my opinion, it is indeed a sad day for BPL and the country as the opportunity has again been lost to attract and retain one of The Bahamas’ best and brightest minds and talent.”

Alston tendered her resignation, effective immediately, last Friday.

The abrupt departure has once again thrown BPL’s executive team under the spotlight.

Alston was appointed in late 2017 while Osborne sat as executive chairperson.

Osborne said Alston called her last Friday to thank her for the opportunity afforded to serve the Bahamian people.

“Having met Ms. Alston during my teen years, I followed her education path at Florida State University and subsequent career in the utilities business first at the Florida Power and Light and then at Georgia Transmission through her family member,” she said in a statement.

“Mrs. Alston is an award-winning engineer, having spent over 30 years in her specialty in a field dominated by men.

“One of her biggest aspirations was fulfilled to return home to be of service to her country.

“That opportunity came in October 2017 when she was hired at BPL as chief operating officer.

“She resigned from GT, sold her house and relocated her husband, a Microsoft computer engineer, and two of her four children back to The Bahamas, the home of her birth and took up her post at BPL.

“The news of Christina’s departure really caught me by surprise like so many other people.”

She said as chairman of BPL, the board sought Alston to fulfill the prime minister’s mandate to bring talented Bahamians back home; a focus on Family Island development; and to reduce the cost of electricity by streamlining our procurement department.

“Like every organization we had our challenges and growing pains, but I can say without hesitation that she added value to the executive team,” Osborne said.

“Mrs. Alston, whose ability to communicate so effectively to the general public was lauded for giving one of the best presentations at both the Platts and Grand Bahama Outlook with respect to content and showed The Bahamas and BPL was moving forward with a comprehensive renewable energy plan.”

Osborne and other BPL board members were replaced by a new board in August 2018.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister claimed the relationships among the old board members had deteriorated, and they were at odds on almost every critical issue at great expense to the power provider.

He said this made new leadership necessary.

But Osborne and other former board members have refuted these claims.

Some of the former board members claimed political interference and disrespect relating to the old board were the root cause of the board’s dysfunction.

In February, Osborne, Nicola Thompson, a former board of director; and Roy Nick Dean, a former director and chairman of BPL’s procurement committeetook legal action against the minister for damages for wrongful dismissal, alleged misfeasance and slander.