Rollins presence in BPL board meeting raises eyebrows

Bahamas Power and Light Headquarters on Baillou Hill Road.
Patrick Rollins, executive director of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL).

Questions are being raised regarding the role of Executive Director Patrick Rollins in the wake of the appointment of a new board at Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), particularly as he was conspicuously present at a press conference called by members of the newly appointed board.

Former board members who were axed by the government two weeks ago, amid controversy surrounding a number of allegations related to BPL’s operations, pointed out to Eyewitness News that Rollins was appointed earlier this summer by Works Minister Desmond Bannister to fill a role left vacant by Deepak Bhatnagar, who previously held that position, but stepped down in early December 2017.

While Bhatnagar served as executive director, he also served as a board member.

When contacted last night by Eyewitness News, newly appointed chairman Dr. Donovan Moxey stated emphatically that Rollins was still the Executive Director but not a member of the new board, raising questions of whether or not Rollins is now serving in a post created especially for him.

“He is not a board member. He rotated off of the board and became an executive director,” Moxey said. He has been in that role for several months, there is nothing new there.”

When pressed by Eyewitness News on how Rollins is able to continue to serve as Executive Director but not hold a director’s post on the board, Moxey said the position was created “a long time ago.”

“He rotated off of the board a long, long time, ago,” Moxey said.  “That role was created a long time ago before I even got here,” Moxey added. “ That role was occupied by Bhatnagar.”

However, Rollins was only recently appointed in July of this year, despite the board at the time not approving his appointment. In fact, the works minister announced Rollins’ appointment in Parliament before the summer recess, without reportedly seeking board approval.

The fall out in BPL reportedly began during its rightsizing exercise in June, which was aimed at streamlining operations at the financially strapped corporation. A series of allegations later surfaced involving the former board and the works minister.

Former board members maintain that Rollins’ position goes against government policy.