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Bpl - I Had To Pull The Plug: Bannister Says Board Was In Total Collapse

WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister in the House of Assembly.

WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister in the House of Assembly.

— By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister conceded yesterday Bahamas Power and Light needed new leadership after its board of directors in recent times remained “locked” in dispute on every critical issue at great cost to the company.

Despite coming to a screeching halt before it could tackle the lion’s share of BPL’s problems, Mr Bannister said the appointment of a new board was not a negative reflection in any way of the achievements and integrity of the outgoing board.

A day after the board dissolved, the minister confirmed the relationship among board members “deteriorated”. These factors presented the basis for a new board of directors, which the minister said he expects to be appointed by tomorrow.

His statement further substantiated The Tribune’s account of the brewing situation that contributed to the board’s unexpected disintegration.

However, when the minister was asked to comment on who was being eyed to constitute the new board, he declined comment.

Sources close to the matter have said selections have been made and are now with Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling. The sources declined to reveal the names as the governor general has to formally approve them.

In the meantime, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union President Paul Maynard said he had no concerns as he received assurances from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis there would be swift resolution. He said his main concern was BPL workers and it did not appear they stood in any immediate danger.

“As minister with portfolio responsibility for Bahamas Power and Light I wish to thank the outgoing board members for their service,” Mr Bannister said in a brief statement yesterday.

“I have delayed issuing this statement out of respect for a board member who is travelling and could not easily be contacted. I have still not been successful in contacting that member. The outgoing board may proudly point to a number of notable accomplishments during their tenure.

“Accordingly, the appointment of a new board does not reflect negatively in any way on the achievements or integrity of the persons who have given service to BPL and to the country.”

The minister continued: “Regrettably, in recent times the former board remained locked at loggerheads with respect to virtually every critical issue. This became costly to BPL. Moreover, as relationships within the board deteriorated, three members offered their resignations. In those circumstances, it was important that the company seek new leadership.

“It is anticipated that a new board will be immediately appointed as the utility works to accomplish its goal of ensuring that reliable power is available to all residents of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Out of respect for the former Board members I do not intend to discuss this matter in any further detail.”

This statement came after sources told this newspaper the minister demanded the resignations from the remaining board members after three of them - vice chairman Patrick Rollins, Ferron Bethel and Whitney Heastie, BPL’s CEO – voluntarily resigned first. However, The Tribune has been told the remaining three further requested a meeting with the prime minister to air their concerns. It is unclear what became of this purported meeting.

It was the proverbial last blow in the minister’s ongoing battle to mediate issues between Chairwoman Darnell Osborne and certain members.

In an interview with The Tribune on Tuesday, 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.

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.

“I am a champion for good corporate governance, transparency and accountability,” Ms Osborne said in response to questions from The Tribune on Tuesday. “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.

Nick Dean, Nicola Thompson, as well as Ms Osborne, Mr Rollins, Mr Bethel and Mr Heastie make up BPL’s board. 

Comments

ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

The outgoing board may proudly point to a number of notable accomplishments during their tenure.

So notable that we did not even notice.

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

"Sources close to the matter have said selections have been made and are now with Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling." Why the future of generation and distribution of electricity in our country are in the hands of this "Dame" are beyond me. Quite an enigma. I suppose that's another story. In the meantime the colossal mess that is BEC and, dare I say, our Government continues...

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licks2 1 month, 1 week ago

Go and read why the "Dame" holds that power. . .the enigma is your ignorance or refusal to "see" what is right in the front of your face!! I do agree that the mess at BPL goes on. . .IN THE DARK IN MOST CASES I AM AFRAID!

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

Go and read why the "Dame" holds that power - care to enlighten the ignorant one?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

"Out of respect for the former Board members I do not intend to discuss this matter in any further detail.”

And what about your respect for the Bahamian people Mr. Bannister? The same applies to Minnis who time and time again promised that it would be the people's time and that a government led by him would govern with great transparency.

There are plenty of rumours circulating that the board imploded because of legitimate concerns certain directors had about 'deals' of the wrong kind being cut by the Minnis-led government behind closed doors involving political elites and their cronies. And these 'deals' involve mega millions of dollars! If Darnell Osborne is truly the "champion for good corporate governance, transparency and accountability" that she claims to be, then she should spill the beans in the public interest on why the board imploded with her at the helm. She should do so if only because her reputation has been clearly put on the sacrificial alter to be sacrificed and she has a right to defend it by telling her side of the story. The public is certainly getting an earful everywhere when it comes to others telling their side of the story....and we all know the unopposed louder voice tends to be believed by the public at large at the end of the day.

And by the way, Lady Poodling's and Bannister's involvement in the appointment of BPL's new directors is very much limited to the formality of accepting the cronies and stoolies of Minnis that he alone approves for appointment to BPL's board.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month, 1 week ago

"earful" in 2nd to last sentence s/b "ear full"

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

BTW, was just wondering why 'The Lady' still holds the post! As noted, I guess that is another story!

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licks2 1 month, 1 week ago

Over rimming with nonsense as usual. . .dry sticks politicians. . .can't see beyond their political interests and biases. . . as usual this poster don't have a dang clue. . .JUST READING BETWEEN THE LINES IN THE DAILIES COULD TELL YOU DIFFERENT THAN THIS CHICKEN SCRATCH!

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DWW 1 month, 1 week ago

If a Bahamian dictionary were created I'm quite sure the words transparency, accountability, honesty etc. would be conveniently omitted. We don't even know where to start...

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

BEC to whatever name BPL.....should have left out the use of the letter B for Bahamas...as the word Bahamas should only be attached to superior qualities representative of a nation where all must strive for the highest standards of excellemce .!!!!.....just as there is rightful indignation expressed over misuse, depicting part of the Coat of Arms....so should the authorities condemn the usage of our name we use with pride and dignity being affixed to a product that puts it in any negative light.

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OldFort2012 1 month, 1 week ago

I think they should just rename it again and leave it at that. BBG sounds good: Better Buy a Generator

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licks2 1 month, 1 week ago

Change the whole dang bunch sounds more like it. . .after 50 years we still "blacking out". The only country I lived and work in where the light staying on is the exception to the rule. . .not the norm! One time in Virginia it went off for all about ten seconds. . .IN THE MIDDLE OF A SEVERE SNOW STORM. . .we thought that was a "crying shame". Here in the Bahamas for too long our politicians were apart of the fuel supplying groups that would not ever make a decision for the best interest of the people. . .not just their friends, families and lovers!! All previous governments are guilty. . .every PM. . .betray the people for the best interests of their friends! This one started out to do better. . .lets hope they maintain their resolve in the face of the obvious political pressure from those greedy for power and those consumed with hate and jealousy!

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

Please, Mrs Osbourne used the phrase "lack of transparency". I won't be surprised if Carl Culmer ends up as executive chairman

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Bahamianbychoice 1 month, 1 week ago

Bannister just needs to stay out of BPL.hands out of the cookie jar!!! .He has caused this by putting his friend Rollins on the board to begin with. I also await Mrs.Osbourne..Mrs. Thompson's and Mr. Dean's comments. I have a feeling we will be shocked..though not surprised... what the MOW and friends have been up too.

In the meantime ...would it not be interesting to see what is happening at BPL contract wise/purchase wise.... while there is no board in place....as the CEO and the MOW's friend Rollins are still in place

Very disappointed.....

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

Did Bannister determine WHO will be the Chairman????? ...... Is this clearly the fault of the Chairman, or is this a revolt of the status quo???????? ....... Is this about the VSEPs??? ......... or Rollins/Bannister bromance????? ......... The People need to know THE TRUTH.

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christee 1 month, 1 week ago

The board is not the problem. The cancer that is killing BPL is the CEO. The board was only initiating oversight of his reckless behavior. Something is very fishy here and the minister is complicit in his actions of removing the people who were watching the people's money.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 1 week ago

"#In an interview with The Tribune on Tuesday, 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."

This tells me nothing, its completely possible to be the only person on the team not doing foolishness. Really the only thing you can do at that point is continue fighting for the right cause or leave and let the country implode

Telling us the team didn't get along tells us nothing. Maybe part of the team wanted to take an early payoff day

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christee 1 month, 1 week ago

The board is not the problem. The cancer that is killing BPL is the CEO. The board was only initiating oversight of his reckless behavior. Something is very fishy here and the minister is complicit in his actions of removing the people who were watching the people's money.

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concernedcitizen 1 month, 1 week ago

We Bahamian politicians born of Bahamian parents ,Bahamian union leaders born of Bahamian parents ,Bahamian board members born of Bahamian parents ,Bahamian linemen and generator mechanics born of Bahamian parents have not been able to provide reliable electrical power generation and distribution at a reasonable price for 30 to 40 years .We have not been able to provide half way reliable power at the cost of a kings ransom while BEC ran up 350 million in debt ..I no longer give one wooden nickel why .Let Shell N A come in for the love of all that is good .Apart from the hiccups in the beginning b/c of junk equipment and union push back Cell service is better now that a private company owns the majority of BTC and we even collect more revenue .Prices are better w the competition from Aliv .If we continue to settle for this and b/c of false national pride want BEC to continue to be a government company run by us ,,We are gooses .I think 30 to 40 years is enough .We are incapable of providing reliable power at any price and I no longer care why ,,PLP ,,FNM ,,UNION I don't give a sh%t .I dating a woman from Miami her power went off twice in twenty years and one of those times was hurricane Andrew ..

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Porcupine 1 month, 1 week ago

“I have delayed issuing this statement out of respect for a board member who is travelling and could not easily be contacted. I have still not been successful in contacting that member. Even people who are sailing around the world, or climbing mount Everest can be contacted with today's technology. Does this statement alone not show how backwards we are in both technology and thinking? Have we just accepted the idea that it is OK for us to be treated like untutored children?

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

EXCELLENT..... to read that there is indeed some vibrant discussions...disagreements....conflicts .....everybody do not always agree with the continued ....year after .....year ...after ...decades everyting is going right .....within these Boards Of Directios appointed to look out for the pore ordinary Bahamian .ASSETS....dat dese suit an tie big time ....are not all as it appeared.....for decades....to be in unison in matters dealing wid these the peoples multi million dollar assets.......that always needing ....propping up....millions of pore ordonary Bahamian depriving demselves when VAT an their taxes....continuously....have to go into these agencies...no past or present members accountable....nobody fired...nobody held accountable....nobody jailed.... Keep up the good work Minister...!!!....

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licks2 1 month ago

NOW THE INFORMATION IS OUT. . .the woman was carrying on like a PLP. . .they said that she was milking the cow PLP style. . .or as one person said. . .Hubert Ingraham style. . .she was HI pick for "hand-go-hand-come" dealings in politics!! This getting dirty. . .

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