By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
OUTGOING BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller yesterday said his tenure will come to an end in about two to three weeks, but insisted that he will leave the corporation “when I want to leave BEC.”
Mr Miller told The Tribune that the timeframe for leaving the corporation has been left up to him by Prime Minister Perry Christie. He said Mr Christie consented to his request to leave after the renaming of BEC’s main building after former general manager Peter Bethel.
Mr Miller said the renaming and preparations therein should take about three weeks.
“Once that is done then I’m out of there,” he said.
Mr Miller would not specify which corporation he will go to upon his departure from BEC, but said he would go to one “that is challenged so I could assist the Bahamian people again.” An announcement on that decision, he said, would also come within the next three weeks.
However, the Tall Pines MP said he intends to return to BEC in the future to “finish the job that we didn’t finish”. He would not specify exactly what that meant, however.
Mr Miller made his statements hours after the government signed a Transition Services Agreement with American company PowerSecure for management of BEC. He said he hoped the new company would be able to curtail the culture of “slackness” that exists at BEC.
Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, present at the signing, said an announcement on BEC’s new board would come by the end of this week.
When questioned about his future at the corporation, Mr Miller said: “I will leave BEC when I want to leave BEC, which is in two weeks. The board made the decision that we were going to rename the BEC building after one of the good managers that was there before. And we’re getting ready to do some work on the building before we rename it. Once that is done then I’m out of there. That’s all it is.
“The prime minister wanted to change the board, but as far as my timeframe with leaving, he left that to me. I told him that there are things that I want to do. He said ‘fine Leslie, as soon as you finish I’ll appoint the new board,’ but the new board will not be in place until we finish our work. That should take about three weeks to be finished.”
When questioned on where he would go upon his departure, he said: “I’m going to go to (a place) that is challenged so I could assist the Bahamian people again. Whichever one I decide to go with is the one I’m going with. You’ll see very shortly; next three weeks.”
He then added: “Hopefully in the not too distant future I intend to go back to BEC. It is my intention to go back to BEC to finish the job that we didn’t finish. I intend to go back there one day.”
In an earlier interview, Mr Miller said if he were removed as executive chairman of BEC, he would be disappointed about not being able to help poor people who often call him for help.
Yesterday, although expressing remorse that he and the current executive management team “ran out of time,” Mr Miller said he has “no problem with making an exit.”
“In fact I’m glad that we’re getting the hell out of there with all the problems I had with them,” he said. “And hopefully these new guys will be able to bring some sensibility to BEC. One thing BEC lacks is accountability. No one is accountable. That’s why the place is the way it is.”
“I wish them (PowerSecure) luck. I think it’s a good company, I think they know what they’re doing when it comes to (transmission and distribution). I think they’ll bring the American sense that you get paid based on the work you do. I think a lot of the slackness, if you put in the right parameters, should drop off and I think they should do well. The only problem I have with it is the same people who create the problems still in place. So I don’t know how you solve a problem if you keep the same people who causing the problems in place. But I guess they’ll deal with that as they go down the line.”
He added: “We (the existing board) wanted to do more, but we weren’t able to. Time sort of ran out on us you know? But hopefully this company will have the latitude to do what is necessary to make those differences.”
In May, the government announced it had selected PowerSecure International as the new management company for BEC, giving it a five-year contract to oversee generation and transmission/distribution.
During his tenure as chairman, Mr Miller has been involved in a series of controversial incidents, including public spats with BEC’s union leaders, and the revelation that he and his family-owned business owed BEC more than $100,000.
Union leaders have repeatedly called for him to be fired.