By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
BAHAMAS Power and Light Chairman Donovan Moxey yesterday said the newly appointed board's biggest challenge was working to instill public confidence in the company and stabilise operations.
Mr Moxey also tackled controversy surrounding published revelations his software company had submitted a bid to BPL to develop a payment app, insisting there were no current ties and any future engagement would be dictated by good corporate governance.
He would not give an undertaking that his company would not vie for future BPL contracts while he sat as chair, and when questioned further he said he could not speak for his entire board or shareholders, and would not do so.
"My perspective is this," he said, "wherever there is a potential or existing conflict of interest, the procedure right now within the board is that you declare that. Then in cases where you must recuse yourself if there are decisions to be made then you do that as such."
Mr Moxey continued: "Just to make it clear, I own a mobile app company and mobile app platform, over two years ago we made a pitch to BPL and that's it. We have no contract with BPL no relationship, nothing of the sort.
"If there is ever an opportunity, obviously I would have to go to my board, my software company, to make the decision whether it makes sense to engage BPL as a customer. And if that is the case I will follow the normal procedures as part of BPL as any board member would, so we don't violate any of the norms when it comes to good corporate governance."
When asked why he would not disavow such a practice, he said: "Because when you look at it, you have lawyers, financial services, I have a fiduciary responsibility to my shareholders as well and if everyone does that how do you gain opportunity as a private company. It's one of those things where it's not an issue unless someone makes it an issue. There are normal corporate governance practices that everyone follows.
"I can't make that decision by myself," Mr Moxey added.
Board member Stephen Holowesko added: "(Mr Moxey), he shouldn't have to put aside a company that he's been working on for the hypothetical possibility that there is some contract with BPL down the road. His company should be allowed to proceed whether or not he's volunteering his time for BPL."
He said the board is in a discovery stage but had identified a need to establish a corporate governance structure that would guide the operations of the body.
The new board fielded questions from the press yesterday afternoon, but remained tightlipped over the caustic allegations surrounding the former board's dissolution about two weeks ago.
"The biggest challenge for us right now is to make sure we help to instill confidence in BPL and stabilise where things are going," Mr Moxey said.
"We had a discovery session just understanding where things are with BPL, getting the views of the executive as well as union leaders, and so we're just coming up to speed and understanding where we are as an organisation."
Responding to questions over the proposed power generation deal with Shell North America, and scrutiny from the Chamber of Commerce, Mr Moxey said while the board intended to review the technical report evaluating the process, there was no set agenda for decoupling. He stressed the board was focused on learning the elements of the pending Memorandum of Understanding.
"No MoU has been signed yet," he said, "and so what we're doing now is we're still learning about the elements of the MoU and we're making sure we learn enough so when a decision is made to go forth and sign that MoU it is done in the best interest of the Bahamian people.
"We had some discussions around process of RFP, we intend to meet with agency who did the evaluation, and the technical evaluation of the process."
Mr Moxey said: "Obviously if there are some serious concerns in the marketplace we will listen to those concerns, but one of the things we want to do is move this forward in a very comprehensive but expeditious manner."
He added: "We're focused on being able to profile stable cost-effective electricity and then provide the highest level of service so everyone is happy with what they are paying."