NASSAU, BAHAMAS — FREE National Movement Leader Michael Pintard is questioning the Davis administration’s plans for Bahamas Power & Light, saying the Shell deal, hedging for lower electricity and the rate reduction bond policy all appear unsettled.
His statement came after BPL announced the appointment of Shevonn Cambridge, a former director of URCA.
“It appears that Prime Minister Philip Davis now has the head of his leadership team in place at BPL, with the selection of the new CEO Mr Shevonn Cambridge, a Bahamian who many would say is well-qualified,” he said.
“As we are all aware, Mr Cambridge comes from URCA where he was directly responsible for regulating BPL, up until the day before he took over the utility. One has to ask the question, did PM Davis seek and obtain the required waiver from URCA to allow Mr Cambridge to now run the company he regulated just a few days ago?
Pintard continued: “Also, what does this mean for URCA and BPL from a corporate governance perspective, and who will URCA now get to fill the void left by Mr Cambridge, or will PM Davis fill this slot with a hand-picked successor as well?”
“The question that I now have for PM Davis is, what are the clear policy and strategic plans for BPL moving forward? As the Bahamian people know, the previous administration had clear policies and a board that created and began executing a comprehensive strategic plan for BPL. In fact, for the last two years overall electricity rates have been stable, and at the lowest sustained cost than at any point over the past 15 years.”
Pintard said: “The Bahamian people and more so the business community have seen this reality in their monthly bills. Now we need to know what will happen with the cost of electricity with respect to a coming adjustment of the fuel pass-thru cost, PM Davis should come clean on what that price adjustment will be for the fuel pass-thru and what the government’s plans are with respect to the hedging program that the previous administration put in place?”
Pintard said Davis must say if he intends to continue the Power Purchase Agreement deal the Minnis administration negotiated with Shell North America.
He said: “Does PM Davis intend to continue with this PPA strategy, or are we being taken back to the days of Power Secure where no one was clear what was happening at BPL with the secret business plan?
Pintard said the Minnis administration’s failure to progress on the rate reduction bond was regrettable.
Noting Davis has said in the House of Assembly that the bond is “dead on arrival,” he asked: “What is his plan for removing the legacy debt from BPL and allowing it to function as an unencumbered utility?”
Pintard said: “It is good that we have another qualified Bahamian at the helm of BPL and not a “Power Secure” clone as PM Davis did when he was Minister Responsible for BEC/BPL, but he must come clean on what he wants Mr Cambridge to do, and provide him with the necessary policies and financial support to ensure that the low costs and quality of service that the Bahamian people have been enjoying for the past two years continues in the future.”