By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER minister Phenton Neymour is calling for the immediate removal of current BEC chairman Leslie Miller, who he accused of “putting the country in jeopardy” with his threat to disconnect delinquent hotels.
Mr Neymour said the chairman’s stance on this issue is a threat to “the very lifeline of this country” – tourism.
“He has no fear and apparently no hesitation in shutting down this country. Clearly, he does not care about the tens of thousands of Bahamians who work in the tourism industry and commercial businesses. He does not care if they have no job to go to in the morning,” Mr Neymour said.
With some of the major hotels in the country “grossly negligent in paying their bills” – one owing as much as $10 million – Mr Miller had vowed that the corporation will “deal with” those hotels this summer, cutting the power to any that failed to comply.
Yesterday, Mr Neymour added that the chairman’s disclosures suggest Mr Miller and the PLP have no regard for the confidentiality of information held by a public utility.
Asking for fairness, he called on Mr Miller to make public the total of any outstanding BEC bills held by companies he has an interest in.
Mr Neymour also called for a fired employee to be taken back.
“How can the PLP have no heart for a woman who after 17 years of employment is victimised?” he asked.
As for the ongoing dispute between the two men over salaries for BEC disconnectors, Mr Neymour claimed the PLP is paying around $13,000 more to disconnectors than the FNM was paying.
Mr Miller said last Thursday that 25 disconnectors are paid between $480 to $680 each per week, based on the number of disconnections and reconnections they handle.
An additional 14 disconnectors were also hired, Mr Miller said, bringing the number from 11 to 25.
Mr Neymour said taking the average of those two numbers and multiplying the number by 25 disconnectors over the course of a year means the government is now paying $754,000 as opposed to the quoted $740,595 figure under the FNM.
“Clearly, by his admission, he is paying more for disconnection services at BEC than under the FNM. Yet he is bragging that he has hired more disconnectors to disconnect poor people at a cheaper rate,” Mr Neymour said.
The former minister also provided the press with copies of minutes from a BEC meeting he attended.
Mr Miller has consistently charged that Mr Neymour never held a meeting with any management or executive members.
He said last Thursday: “He never had a meeting at BEC with anyone in his life, in five years he sat here and never had a meeting.”
Mr Neymour said yesterday: “One of my first activities was to meet with the board, followed by management, and had numerous subsequent meetings... Mr Miller, as the current executive chairman, is in possession of these minutes.”