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Bpl Wipeout: Resignations Lead Bannister To Ask All Board To Quit

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Power and Light plummeted to a state of uncertainty and chaos yesterday after the entire board of directors resigned following several months of “dysfunction” and purported infighting, stagnating the action needed to turn things around for the electricity provider.

Several sources yesterday confirmed the board disintegrated following a meeting with Works Minister Desmond Bannister, who was said to have demanded the resignations after months of attempting to mediate issues with Chairwoman Darnell Osborne and other board members.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, one ex-board member who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said had Ms Osborne resigned long ago, the board would have had no issues in successfully carrying out its work. Under her leadership, the source claimed the board was without direction, leaving much of BPL’s critical issues unaddressed.

While Mr Bannister could not be reached for comment and in the absence of an official explanation from government, Ms Osborne rejected the allegations telling The Tribune her record spoke for itself, but she would not speak to the resignations or what caused them.

However, The Tribune was told three board members – vice chairman Patrick Rollins, Ferron Bethel and Whitney Heastie, BPL’s CEO – resigned first, prompting the minister to demand the remaining members follow suit.

This comes as the state-owned electricity provider continues to grapple with power generation challenges and load shedding, frustrating consumers who have been forced to suffer brutal temperatures this summer.

These resignations have also happened as the liquefied natural gas (LNG) deal with Shell North American has yet to be finalised. Shell is seeking to meet New Providence’s long-term energy needs by constructing an LNG driven power plant at Clifton by 2021.

‘Dysfunction’

“I am a champion for good corporate governance, transparency and accountability,” Ms Osborne said in response to questions from The Tribune . “My record speaks for itself. I work on behalf of the Bahamian people and transparency and accountability is how I conduct business.”

She maintained that claims to the contrary were part of an effort to “spin” the true picture of what took place concerning the board and its members.

In recent months, The Tribune was told it became extremely difficult for the board of directors to make major decisions.

“The board was selected with high hopes that they could resolve the surmountable issues facing BPL and the board had a lot of talent on it,” the anonymous source explained.

“Just recently it got difficult for many of the major issues to get through the board. We had 31 megawatts of generation at Clifton Pier that needed a part for board approval and a lot of other critical issues that was just stuck with the board.

“So the minister called the board in today (yesterday) and asked for the resignations and said they were going to appoint a new board.

“There was lack of leadership. The board really turned dysfunctional because we weren’t getting anything (done). Nothing was happening and there was a lot of critical issues that were not being addressed.”

In the midst of uncertainty, the LNG deal still stands, and had nothing to do with the resignations, The Tribune was told.

“There was a lot of unity on the board to get the contract signed, but there were just a lot of little things that was holding up the singing of that contract. The Shell deal is still on,” the source added.

“All and all, the minister was not satisfied with the recent performance of the board after he made several attempts to get over the hurdles and was not able to do so.”

Another board member insisted there was a power struggle between Ms Osborne and “powers that be” in the Ministry of Works.

This struggle began about five months ago, the board member claimed.

“We were getting some interference from the Ministry of Works and instructions were given to some board members to do certain things behind Darnell’s back,” the second former board member claimed.

“That was brought up to him in a meeting and she was scolded for it. This resulted in a turf war between the ministry and the BPL chairman.

“There was also the executive director post issues with there being questions over what his job description was. This was never addressed to the board.

“And then there were issues from the employees when it came to morale. The chairman had enough and she asked the PM to intervene.

“But there were a number of problems and Darnell was not one of them,” the source added.

A new board is to be appointed by this Friday, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said yesterday. Considering there have been issues for a long time, Mr Maynard said he was not surprised the situation came to this.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis demanded an explanation from the government and questioned the Minnis administration’s plan for power generation in the Bahamas.

Mr Davis said: “Today I reached out to the prime minister when I received a credible report that the entire board of Bahamas Power and Light had either resigned or been dismissed, this coming at a time when the company’s power generating capacity is collapsing nationwide.

“I wanted to hear for myself what on earth was going on with his government. This latest news simply confirms that he and his colleagues do not have a plan on power generation for this country. They also seem to be lurching from one crisis to the next.

“We need an explanation. What is the backstory? Has corruption been uncovered? Is incompetence the problem? I have spoken to the union’s leadership and they are very concerned that the company is rudderless.”

Comments

voiceofthepeople 1 month, 1 week ago

https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/2016/02/16/11-countries-leading-the-charge-on-renewable-energy/

LOOK TO THESE COUNTRIES FOR ADVICE > PLEASE!!!!!!

11 COUNTRIES LEADING THE CHARGE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

WHY KEEP ASKING COUNTRIES THAT ARE STILL MESSING UP THIS WORLD!!!!

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

As usual, the word "union" appears in any article like this. Ive seen this kind of thing dozens of times. Sounds like BPL had a chairperson who was trying to do her job, and we all know that's not allowed in this country wherever millions of dollars are involved.

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 1 week ago

It is Banister who should resign. 'The little Caesar" They the FNM appointed this Board, at least they are alive, because the FNM Government did appoint to long dead to boards.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

It is Bannister who should immediately be given his walking papers. And to think it was none other than Minnis himself who appointed Bannister to his cabinet post and none other than Minnis himself who blessed the appointments of Osborne and Heastie at BPL/BEC. Heastie personifies the very definition of an incompetent CEO and Ferron Bethel is a well known hot head!

All of this begs the following two questions:

1) Does Minnis know anyone who is competent?

and

2) Does anyone competent want to work in any position within a government led by Minnis?

And I have it on good word that contrary to assertions made otherwise, the Shell North America LNG deal has a great deal to do with the chaos at BPL/BEC. The gated communities at Albany, Lyford Cay and Old Fort are up in arms about this outrageous and most secretive back door deal that is being negotiated out of the PM's Office.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Oban 4.0. I wonder who's getting the finders fee on that one

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

I don,t care Bannister ,L Miller ,FNM ,PLP ,,Crooked politicians ,haphazard maintenance ..We have proven beyond any doubt we are unable to provide reliable power at a reasonable rate .We can,t even provide half reliable power while charging and arm and a leg .If its Shell NA so be it ,let them build ,own and operate it ,,there is no way on six ways to Sunday it could be worse .Don,t let political bias sway your head ,,40 years of crappy power supply is all the proof I need

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licks2 1 month ago

Take ya lazy self and go read those things you talking fool about!! For example, a deal that went to international tender by international lenders. . .NOT THE GOVERNMENT. . .that company won the internationally watched tender process!! But as usual. . .you just talk nonsense. If you say those things about Bannister. . .YOU DON'T KNOW THAT MAN!! He will not allow no infighting and wrangling that will hamper his ministry progress!! And what the hell those areas have to do with the power tender process? Suck teeth!!!!!!!

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

It would be instructive to find out what the board was being forced to do that some of them had such a strong objection to. Why was an executive director appointed when an executive chairman was already in place?

Also what is this about unqualified consultants being pushed into posts after the govt had just spent 70 million to clear 60 positions?

Remember Oban, Chipman firing, a document already signed days before the date Parliament Was misled to believe it was due to be" signed, a serial fraudster sitting next to the PM in a place of honor.... Trump know just what Trump Jr. was doing, don't be fooled. A word to the wise is sufficient.

Nothing happens outside the wishes of the emperor

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BahamaPundit 1 month, 1 week ago

They probably resigned because they didn't agree to the FNM selling the BEC monopoly to themselves aka Bluewater 2.0

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Maybe. I wish Bahamians would open their eyes and see corruption een gone nowhere. I sorry for them when govt change again. Who will be lead in chains to court then?

My belief is the executive director was put there unqualified to do Minnnis' bidding. Of course that's just my belief. Minnis M.O. Is to place stooges in positions of power bypassing qualified senior management. he then has a finger on the pulse of every govt organization in the country. Stooges are just satisfied to get the salary, they carry out whatever you ask and they don't consider if your instructions are good for the health of the company

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Sickened 1 month, 1 week ago

No FNM will be arrested or charged just like nothing is happening with the crooked PLP's. It's all facades for the D average.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Overly optimistic. You really believe if Jerome Fitzgerald gets back in office and he has something on Minnis he's not going to seek revenge? What comes of it is another matter. Minnis got what he wanted out of the Shane Gibson , Smith and Dorsett affair, distract everybody from what he wasn't doing and feed the mob.

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hrysippus 1 month ago

Charged with what? Not being able to agree with fellow board members? What a true true D- comment.

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

there is qualified senior management ?? ,,where ,when,, for forty years they have been cronies and friends .Diesel generation to produce electricity is not new or a complicated technology and yet we have proven to be incapable of doing it .Please for the love of God let a company that can do it build ,own and operate a plant ..No one in their right mind will buy BEC .It shocked me we got 200 million for BTC ,,the equipment was junk and not compatible w other networks ,,they paid for the market and no compation for a number of years

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

I thought Osbourne was a pretty good choice. She wasn't the problem, political interference was the problem. The most insidious thing about the FNM is they preach this anti corruption we're Boy Scouts message while they push initiatives like Oban, continue to give multimillion dollar no bid contracts and fire PLPs to give jobs to FNMs

I suspect within days of the new board getting in the Shell contract will be signed. And somebodys "may" have a million dollars in their offshore account or shares in the new enterprise. I wonder if this any different than the Fred Ramsey bribery deal. Will wait to see what the Americans have to say about it

Tired of all of them trying to keep everything for themselves. Too many investors come to this country with collective billions for it to be in the state it's in.

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

there was bidding , however ,I don,t care ,FNM ,,PLP .I know we have proven w out a doubt we can not produce reliable power at a reasonable price ,,we have been proving this every year for forty years,,I know longer care why .Time to let someone who can do it ..

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Remember Fred Ramsey? There was a "bidding" process in that BEC contract too. You know exactly what the deal is.

Im going to bet that the problem they had with Ms Osbourne was that she wasn't blindly going along with their wishes.

I have personal knowledge of another issue where to the naked eye it "appeared" as if a process was followed, but from the outset the word had come down from on high as to who would be installed. So much so that when the announcement was made the persons in charge of the review were even scratching their heads. This is not the first time I've heard such accounts. There seems to be heavy political interference from the PMO. How you think Lanisha get to be Min of Sports? It's a spit in every taxpayers eye that she was even appointed a cabinet minister. This is no different than Oban when it "appears" as if Minnis tried to push the deal through himself, moved the BEST commission to his office, fired Chipman to remove obstacles at Antiquities, appears to have misled cabinet about the contract signing and just created a giant mess with his machinations. What Im not certain of is how much of his cabinet actually agrees with his antics. He will sink the country if he continues in this manner. He's obsessed with getting his way, having people loyal to him in senior posts rather than people qualified to do the work. All of this was clear from the minute he appointed the FS. I'm told at least Ingraham was intelligent and Chrustie liked smart people around him. This a very troubling thing we have now

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

That's a lot of conjecture on your part .I remember the Ramsey thing and that was the reason Ingraham ditched F Watson . Ingraham also ditched his boy from Freeport when he got slimy .I don,t know yet if Minnis is straight or not .You are not a Minnis fan , if he is as crooked as you suggest the facts will come out they always do .Anecdotal evidence and opposition sip sip are not facts .There is always interference from the PMO ,that's how our system works , as in any country or business the decesions come from the top .You are anti Minnis so your post and inclinations will look for things .I have yet to make my mind up .In forty years we have been unable to produce reliable power if Miinis pulled the trigger and brought in a company that can my hat is off to him .

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licks2 1 month ago

Spoken just like an Andros yard chicken. . . all digging in the dirt for worms. Now what you should do is dig dipper into that "magic word shell". . .see what sunshine will shine through. . .then you will see the real worms . . . instead of your cockeyed steering at worms in the dirt before ya face in ya lil scratches.

By the way. . .I better leave it there. . .YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

Back to candles and oil stoves

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

Back to?? ,,for forty years if you weren,t wealthy enough for a generator you kept candles or flashlights handy .

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John 1 month, 1 week ago

The Kissinger report said ‘control their energy supply and their food supply.’

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TheMadHatter 1 month, 1 week ago

John...for once we agree. You are spot on here. That's why i keep saying we gotta get these Chinese outta here operating food stores. People need to stop shopping those places.

Here is the report. Food poisoning, reduction of male sperm counts, selling BTC for peanuts, it's all that kinda stuff. I believe the D average is also deliberate. Keep the people ignorant so they remain willing slaves.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.hli.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Kissinger-Report-A-Retrospective-on-NSSM-200.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwiL593o7u_cAhUHwlkKHb97CbAQFjACegQIBRAB&usg=AOvVaw0LBNzGa0214He1S5uSLmuQ

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

If the U S wanted us tomorrow all they have to do is put an embargo on tourist travelling here .With out the revenue we would collapse We are not volcano tops like Cuba w fertile soil ,we are coral rocks that could not grow enough feed to support us .There is no vast plot to takes us down ,,although it might hurt our bloated egos ,,this we doin this to we

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licks2 1 month ago

Dumb statements again. . .tourist is less than one billion annually in business for the Bahamas? If that much! Now the Bahamas is worth multi-billions to the Americans in tourists, supplies, energy, education, technology, health, etc!!!

Dumbness seem to be the order of the day around here. . .loud talking with little brain power. . . political dry sticks. . .poor partners for reasoning and dialogue!!

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realitycheck242 1 month, 1 week ago

This article is just a micrososm of the mired of problems that exist at BPL and NIB, both government corporations that exist side by side on the same street. The problems extend form the Board level to the union levels and as a result the Bahamian populace is suffering because of poor service. Blame at both institutions is being cast on old antiquated equipment and computer systems that is not funtioning and causing delays in services. The stress level for staff is very high because the public expect better.

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Bahamianbychoice 1 month, 1 week ago

I also believe Bannister should be fired immediately. It is apparent that he has been medaling in BPL. Clearly the Chairperson and certain Directors were not falling into line..hence his appointment of his "friend" as Executive Director. This Executive Director collecting a huge paycheck from a broke company and he possesses no relevant technical skills..really..can you be more obvious??? He would be dealing with Shell NA..really!!! You also have a CEO that was let go under dubious circumstances in Freeport. Most recently you have the unions verbally noting their frustration about the present CEO..his hiring practices and the irrelevant hiring of this Executive Director. According to the unions this CEO has steered the company to its worst state in its history. So Heastie has serious conflicts at a board level..with staff...and the company is struggling. Other companies would replace the CEO to start.

When ever has the power company had three executive positions that held board posts and company positions...isn't that conflicting..so why would Bannister do this???

As of today the people protecting the company (Chairperson/Directors) have been removed but the CEO/Executive Director are still employed...speaks volumes to me..and the CEO/Executive Chair resigned to begin with....was this orchestrated???

At a minimum they should also be removed. This FNM hopes Mrs.Osbourne..Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Dean are reinstated. There is a reason Bannister/Rollins/Heastie and Bethel want you gone.....which is why myself as a "tax payer/shareholder" of BPL want you back in place.

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

Please for the love of God privatize our power supply .We have proven w out a doubt we are unable to provide reliable power at a reasonable rate .We can not even provide half way reliable power at the price of a kings ransom .I can remember in the 1980,s going to take a bath w both a flash light and a gallon bottle of water in case either went out .No one will buy this debt ridden rust bucket ,let Shell N A come in and build own and operate .I remember when Batelco had us buying cell phones that were not compatible w international networks as D Barttlet used Batelcos buying power to buy new technology and sell it to the Turks and Caicos for her gain .Isn,t our water supply and our cell phone better b/c they are now in private hands ..40 YEARS IS LONG ENOUGH TO PROVE WE ARE INCAPABLE OF KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON

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Jetflt 1 month, 1 week ago

Very sad indeed! This country has been independent for 35 years and still can’t run a power plant effectively and provide an uninterrupted supply of power to its customers. And it doesn’t matter which party you vote in. You get the same crap every time. Everything the government, FNM and PLP alike, puts their hand on or gets involved with turns to into a disaster! We will never learn - never!

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BahamaPundit 1 month, 1 week ago

Re Concernedcitizen I have no problem with them privatizing BEC, so long at it is a fully transparent bidding process and the public is given the chance to buy shares. Unfortunately, the bidding process for the new power plant that will replace BEC was the opposite of transparent and other bidders were sabotaged by not being provided with the full information. The deal was already done, and the other bidders were treated like clowns in a circus.

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

The public was giving a chance to buy shares in the port ..As I recall the bidding process was handled ,vetted , by an accounting firm .If companies felt it was unfair there are avenues of redress .However after the Travolta saga and Izzie w Baha mar ,as a foriegn firm I may not waste time in our courts .Truth be told from the custom officer ,to the policeman ,to the judge to our politicians ,just say many of us are lacking in integrity

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licks2 1 month ago

What are you talking about? What new power plant that will replace BEC? And what about an international bidding process ran by international lenders was not transparent? Who company was not provided with the bidding information? SO I SEE THAT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. . .AS USUAL AROUND HERE!! Please people. . . the world is watching yinna. . .stupid talk is making we look stupid. Running ya mouth and don't even know the particulars of ya rant. . .scatter shots no brain political stuff. . .

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BahamaPundit 1 month, 1 week ago

Re: Concernedcitizen The FNM didn't allow the other bidders to make on-site visits. What the hell is that? Further, the other bidders were only given the option to bid on providing additional power to BPL, not building an entire power station and becoming the main supplier of BPL's electrical needs. If that sounds fair to you, I'll buy your car for a nickel.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

What the hell is that? "Oban 4.0"

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

Anecdotal sip sip .If the other companies feel this is true there is redress in the press and the courts , and I,m not concerned about companies connected to Frankie Wilson ...

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Sickened 1 month ago

Redress? In the Bahamas? You're talking years of waiting and countless thousands in lawyers fees, just for some lame judge to make a stupid decision to force you to go to a higher court.

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licks2 1 month ago

There is the problem there. . .THIS DEAL EEN GONE TO THEM. . . their monies run deep and involves plenty of the critics. . .making plenty money yearly and keeping things bad with light to keep making money off the backs of the Bahamian people. . . the sun een shinning so bright for them with this new deal. . .which will make light more reliable and cheaper. . .those greedy hogs are hopping mad at doc and his policies of "stop yall crap in government". . .no more no less!

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licks2 1 month ago

Where to bring you that nickle car. . .but first I need to take off the four wheels to buy some gas for you so you can have a full tank when I gee you that car!! I am only going to give you this deal because I see here how "smart" you are and I can't get over you. What color you want me to paint ya car. . .yellow. . .red. . .green?

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