Opposition to call for select committee to investigate issues at BPL



NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Opposition will call for a select committee to examine, investigate and review the issues surrounding the termination of the former board at The Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

They will also examine increased electricity rates, voluntary separation packages, recent fires, and other issues surrounding the power company, said Englerston Member of Parliament Glennys Hanna-Martin on Wednesday.

According to Hanna-Martin, the government claimed the board at BPL was let go because there was an inability to reach a consensus and members were at “loggerheads”.

“I believe this is true, but there is a dispute between the minister and the former chairman and at least two other respected members of the board as to the reason for this loggerhead and lack of consensus,” Hanna-Martin claimed.

The Englerston  MP  said the reported claims made by the former chairman of BPL and two other former board members are very serious and cannot be lightly dismissed.

“We know from the confirmation from the prime minister in this House last week, that the RFP (request for proposal) process was moved from the Ministry of Works to his office. What precipitated that? And I am asking because we did not know. Did it relate to any of the concerns expressed by the former chairman?” Hanna-Martin asked.

Standing on a point of order, Minister of Public Works and Carmichael MP Desmond Bannister said the actions that the PM spoke about, as it relates to the RFP [being moved to his office], had the full support of the former Board at that time.

“I don’t want to interfere any further because allegations were made in relation to me and I don’t want to be seen to interfere,” Bannister said.

Hanna-Martin then made reference to several articles from local dailies which reported on the former board’s termination, voluntary separation packages, and recent fires at BPL. She said it was because of these things that a select committee was needed.

“Our select committee will seek to scrutinize all of these matters very, very closely,” she said.

“It appears to me that there is a stink around BPL and it must be aerated. We can go on with business as usual and just pretend, but there are some serious issues on the table and I think the Government must do the right thing.

“As the minister said, he is making an earnest attempt to deal with the challenges but the truth is, many of these challenges was created by this government and so at the appropriate time we will be moving for this select committee as the Bahamian people have a right to know.

“The arguments have played out in the public domain and some compelling questions have been raised and must be answered, and so we have to be clear.

“We need to understand how we got where we are…it’s transparency,” Hanna-Martin said.