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Call For Miller To Go - And Clarity Over Restructuring

Leslie Miller

Leslie Miller

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FORMER FNM minister Phenton Neymour yesterday called for the removal of Bahamas Electricity Corporation chairman Leslie Miller amid calls for greater transparency into the restructuring process at the company.

Mr Neymour, former Minister of State for the Environment with responsibility for BEC, charged that there should be full disclosure on energy reform before the government engaged bidders for privatisation.

He said the Christie-led administration’s mismanagement has jeopardised both the economy and standard of living, adding that poor relations between workers and the corporation’s board impacted staff morale and productivity.

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said: “We don’t feel that (workers) would do anything to jeopardise themselves but at the same time, they must be comfortable in their environment so as to increase performance.”

Mr Neymour added: “We cannot condone government officials cursing out employees. No government or quasi-government employee in a modern Bahamas should be publicly humiliated and slandered in this manner. The government should seek to ensure there is not an adversarial relationship between its board and employees.”

While the FNM supported privatisation, Mr Neymour said his party took great exception to the way the exercise was being conducted. “We need to know who are the shortlisted bidders, how were they shortlisted and what standards are being used. What are the contentious items that would have caused a delay over the last seven months? We are also opposed to the methodology and the sequence of activities of the privatisation selection process, in relation to the PLP’s energy reform needs at this particular time.”

Mr Neymour called for an overhaul of the existing electricity legislation, which he said was more than 60 years old and obsolete given the current pace of development and available technologies.

He suggested that energy reform be first with revising the legislation with a focus on efficient energy production and renewable energy.

Bahamians should be allowed to disconnect from BEC and produce their own electricity, he said.

Mr Neymour said: “We also believe that BEC should cease being the provider of energy and the regulator. We believe that is a direct conflict and we should cease doing that. BEC rates and issues concerning damage to equipment should be overseen by the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority.

“We feel that the sale of BEC’s power generation should not be offered to one foreign entity as it is not in the best interest of the Bahamian people. Why can’t we use already established formula that the FNM put in place at the Water and Sewerage Corporation? We now have private entities producing water because we have broken down the country into geographic zones.

He added: “We can do the same thing, break up the pie and allow for Bahamian participation and Bahamian ownership.”

Mr Neymour said the last audited statements under the former administration showed the corporation to be “breaking even”, adding it was now on the brink of a blackout due to its inability to pay for fuel.

Yesterday, Mr Miller confirmed that BEC’s accounts receivable was around $187m, with $30m owed by the government. He said that the current fuel bill was $120m.

Mr Neymour said: “In less than a year, Baha Mar is scheduled to come on stream. If BEC can’t keep the country’s lights on, what are BEC’s plans to supply them with power?”

• Squeeze on customers - see business page four

Comments

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

Neymour didn't do a lot while he was there either except giveaway some bogus light bulbs ....... He may have had good plans but either HAI or the Unions frustrated him ....... we are still up a creek without a paddle

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birdiestrachan 6 years, 7 months ago

I am surprise that Neymour has so much to say. They sold BTC which was an easier Company to operate and in which lots of up grades had been done. If they were so smart they would have sold BEC which seems to be broke and busted. And he talks about including Bahamians? He is a part of a Government that says Bahamians need not apply./

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

I would be sad to see Mr Miller go because he has done a lot to reign in an out of control union. But as I have said from day one, he is no hero. He has now mired himself in so much controversy and displayed such a gross misunderstanding of his role, good conduct and professional behavior that I don't see any other just outcome than for him to be relieved of his post. His comment about beating a former girlfriend, his giving special treatment to family and friends and refusing to acknowledge that the source of large sums of suspicious money has to be explained! I don't know if that has anything to do with his son being an alleged drug dealer, maybe he thinks its "normal", I don't know. But any right thinking boss would relieve him for the good of the organization, setting a good example, stressing accountability and improving company morale. I pray that they replace the general manager, who's job he's actually been doing, with a hard nose businessman who continues the turnaround "ethically".

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licks2 6 years, 7 months ago

The last time I checked the PLP party placed 38 of its members in the parliment of the bahamas in 2012. . .NOT THE FNM PARTY! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . .IS IT ALL WE ARE GOING TO HEAR EVERYTIME THIS GOVERNMENT WALKS ON ITS SHOE LACES AND FALL DOWN AND BUST-UP THEY MOUTH. . .WHICH THEY SEEM TO DO EVERYTIME THEY WALK A STEP?

For example. . .iffin I ask about the shed Nygard is doing now in this nation. . .I ger hear. . .but that Khan dude did some foolishness under HI them too! Child pleassssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Thinker 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, I do hope they let Miller go. But you see, government shouldn't be in business of making money of the backs of the working people. That is just that. Now, people, call for the removal of government in businesses that should be held accountable by the Free Market. Government is corruptible and hasn't brought us up to date with regards to electricity or efficiencies, education, on and on. Shrink inefficient, incompetent government, pay down the debt without added taxes. Simple.

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