Financial woes persist at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC), according to Executive Chairman Michael Foulkes, who detailed in Parliament, among other things, that the corporation’s bills left by the former administration are in excess of $3 million, including $1 million owed to the National Insurance Board (NIB).
“BAIC is in absolutely dire financial straits and lacked the fiscal irresponsibility in particular of its former chairman Dion Smith [who] lacked good governance. It is indeed unthinkable. A shameful act of fiscal irresponsibility,” Foulkes said.
According to Foulkes, some of the corporation’s bills include: $300,000 owed to the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), a little under $300,000 to the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and medical coverage that has been suspended for employees.
Foulkes told parliamentarians what is even more egregious, is that in the last five years, under the former administration, BAIC failed to pay NIB contributions.
“That amount is under $700,000. What did they do with the money, we hope to find out. Meanwhile we are left to secure these funds for the government,” he said.
Foulkes also highlighted a solar energy system that was acquired by BAIC for its new Solider Road headquarters at the Industrial Park. The building was said to be a model for other government ministries
“We needed to determine what was being produced in terms of energy,” he disclosed.
“When the executive team tested solar system, we shut off generator and waited to see if anything came on. Nothing happened. No power, Mr. Speaker.
“That revelation prompted a further investigation and we discovered, to our dismay, that the much-touted solar system does not have any batteries to store the energy and not even a tie in to BEC’s electrical supply, it was a film-flam.”
The executive chairman added that the former chairman also leased government land without the proper documentation and companies have also rented space in the Industrial Park, with one tenant owning over $1 million.
Business owners in arrears he said, with no effort to pay, will be given a 30-day eviction notice.
“The board of directors are determined to bring abuses to an end and political affiliations will not matter,” he said.