Says parties involved were encouraged to engage in dialogue
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is closely monitoring and is very concerned about the allegations of electricity theft levied against certain fast food operators in Grand Bahama, said Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson on Tuesday.
Speaking to Eyewitness News Online, Thompson said the government is hoping for an amicable resolution as the Cooper family, the owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King and the Pollo Tropical franchise, have threatened job losses if their power is not restored.
Last week, the business owners were arrested after Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) suspected tampering of its power supply through the use of an energy-saving device.
The Cooper family has denied the allegations and insisted that they are being targeted by the power company.
Thompson said the impact of the investigation could have widespread implications for the nation’s second city.
“It has affected a number of businesses and at the moment they are not connected to the grid, but they are on generator,” he said. “We’ve been monitoring it and have had discussions with the power company, and we believe that it is a matter that can be amicably resolved.”
Thompson said the government is encouraging the parties involved to engage in dialogue and these talks, he revealed, began yesterday.
“We want this matter fairly resolved with all the parties and those restaurants and other businesses can be brought back to some normalcy,” Thompson said.
At a press conference on Sunday past, the Cooper family admitted to installing a device to help reduce the increasing cost of energy that they said began to impact business.
But according to the Coopers, an approved electrician was hired to install the device.
Questions, however, have surfaced on whether or not that device is legal.
Thompson declined to comment on the police investigation but said that there is widespread concern for the businesses.
“We are very hopeful that a fair resolution can be brought about,” Thompson reiterated. “We know that it is a challenging situation for those businesses so we are concerned.”