By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday demanded that the government fully disclose the details surrounding an agreement with Renew Bahamas, a company contracted to manage the city dump, saying the opposition “does not want any closed door bargaining”.
Speaking to reporters at the dump site yesterday, Dr Minnis said many Bahamians and businesses are suffering under the high cost of energy and the FNM was not convinced that the government has a proper energy policy.
Renew Bahamas was contracted as a new private manufacturer to remediate the landfill, to study waste flows available and construct a recycling plant.
Phenton Neymour, former minister of state for the environment under the previous Ingraham administration, pointed to the government’s failure to make public specific details concerning the landfill and the government’s plans to covert waste-to-energy.
Mr Neymour said: “I am indeed shocked at the performance of the Progressive Liberal Party and for some reason they feel that they are not answerable to the Bahamian people. In their own blatant way whenever questions are asked concerning the spending of the public’s money they seem to not want to give answers to those questions.
“In regard to the landfill, there have been two contracts awarded, one a letter of intent another a contract which they have not disclosed to the Bahamian people.”
Mr Neymour referred to the reported signing of a letter of intent with a company to build a multi-million dollar waste-to-energy plant at the New Providence landfill.
It has been reported that Ministry of Works Parliamentary Secretary Renward Wells signed the document with a company called Stellar Waste-To-Energy Bahamas Limited to build the “$625 million to $675 million” facility.
Dr Minnis has criticised the government for its silence on the matter.
“I am very concerned that they do not feel they should answer to the Bahamian people recognising the fact that they are servants of the people and should give an account for the spending of their money,” Mr Neymour added.
“We have a company here that is now operating the landfill. (We don’t know) who the owners are. We don’t know what rates they are charging. We don’t know how the tipping fees go, which are the fees that you pay to dump here. How it is being split between the government, between the new company and how that is proposed to be split with Stellar Waste-to-Energy? We don’t know these things. This is the Bahamian people’s money.”
Mr Neymour pointed to the steps that the FNM, during their last term in office, were taking to execute the landfill’s remediation and said the administration intended to include Bahamian companies in the process.
He further questioned how the government expected to produce 70 to 80 mega watts of power through the waste-to-energy process when several consultants and proposals submitted to the Ingraham administration said it was only possible to produce 15 to 22 megawatts of energy based on the level of waste production in Nassau.
“We know for a fact that the waste-to-energy projects were out internationally,” Mr Neymour said. “Before we had put them out we had solicited proposals. We received 28. Of those, nine of them submitted for waste to energy here. Those 28 were short-listed to six and four of these six made proposals for waste to energy on this particular site.
“The consultants who were Fichtner at that time recommended that we produce detailed contract documents for them to bid on and we were forced to solicit competitive bidding for waste to energy. That was the track the FNM government was on.
“We had also sent consultants to review this plasma technology that has now been contracted. The government is saying that they can produce 70 to 80 megawatts of power. Well all of the proposals we received, the consultants all indicated that we could only get 15 to 22 megawatts from this site. So where is the balance of the 50 megawatts coming from? Where is this waste going to come from to generate this energy?”
Mr Neymour said Stellar Waste-to-Energy was not among the companies being considered during the FNM’s term in office.