McAlpine: Where is the BPL probe?

McAlpine: Where is the BPL probe?
Member of Parliament for Pineridge, Fredrick McAlpine. (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As he recapped over the Minnis administration’s performance in office to date, asserting that some Bahamians remain disappointed with certain failed promises, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine criticized the lack of progress on the promised Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) probe.

“What happened to the probe with BPL,? McAlpine asked while on Star FM’s ‘The Hit Back’ with host Nahaja Black.

“How’s that going?

“What happening with BPL?

“What’s going on with the BPL probe that they said we were going to get?”

Last August, after the former BPL board was disbanded, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government will launch a “proper investigation” into matters that unfolded between some former BPL board members and Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

Three members of those former board — Darnell Osborne, the then executive chairman, Roy Nick Dean and Nicola Thompson — have taken legal action against the minister for damages for wrongful dismissal, alleged misfeasance and slander.

Attorney Alfred Sears, Q.C., represents them.

When contacted, Sears indicated that in short order he will file a statement of claim on behalf of his clients, detailing their claims.

In their writs, each of the plaintiffs is seeking damages for wrongful dismissal; damages, inclusive of aggravated and exemplary damages for alleged misfeasance; interest; cost and any other relief as the court deems fit.

Bannister said last year that relationships within the board had broken down and the board locked horns on almost every issue, at great cost to the power provider.

But Osborne, Dean and Thompson retorted that “political interference” and a “continuous disrespect” toward the executive chairman were at the root of the former board’s dysfunction.

Yesterday, McAlpine asserted that the Bahamian people stand to lose if the government has to pay damages.

“Who is going to pay? he asked while opining that the government has not been transparent with certain costs it has occurred using taxpayer money.

“How many other secret deals?

“Can you tell me how much was paid in the last case that was held; the Frank Smith case?

“How much did we pay the legal, the Queen’s Counsel?

Government officials have declined to disclose the amount of money paid to British Queen’s Counsel Edward Jenkins to lead the prosecution in the bribery and extortion case of Smith, the former PLP Senator, who was accused of abusing his position as chairman of the Public Hospitals Authority.

Attorney General Carl Bethel said last month that the cost was “reasonable”, but declined to reveal the amount.

Smith was acquitted and the decision was appealed.

He was charged in 2017 after the award of a $516,000 contract to virtual complainant Barbara Hanna, the owner of Magic Touch Cleaning, to clean the critical care unit of Princess Margaret Hospital.