By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA
IT was just January of this year that works Minister Desmond Bannister suggested that Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) was on pace to deliver to the public its best summer on record.
Fast forward eight months later and I can honestly say that if drama, intrigue and confusion, sprinkled with a dash of pettiness and decent serving of backbiting is your cup of tea, boy did BPL ever deliver!
I will admit I have been scratching my head these past two weeks watching these episodes of “The Real Big Bosses of BPL” play out.
The season started with a dramatic firing by Minister Bannister that wiped the board clean.
Then there were (totally unscripted) accusations of “political interference” by ousted chairperson Darnell Osborne, who presented her case to the media in a way that would make Omarosa proud.
That led to Minister Bannister bringing “the receipts” on alleged egregious personal expenditures by board members (something something security, something something makeup) that had women around the country sucking their teeth and ready to fight.
(On a side note: if you’re ever in an argument with a member of the fairer sex and you think tossing her colossal MAC bill in her face will win you points, take my advice and don’t. Because apparently it won’t. Now back to Season 1).
There was some back and forth about (ahem) makeup as Osborne disputed the so-called receipts.
Then Minister Bannister started “pulling files” left, right and centre to show that “someone” wanted a gargantuan $300,000 salary that you just know Bahamians would never co-sign.
This led to Prime Minister Minnis making a surprise cameo appearance to say there would be an “investigation” into whatever it is everyone involved in the drama was rowing over.
But when Minnis failed to say who would be spearheading this investigation, Bahamians wanted him fired off the show for reason of his general confusion and the fact that he wasn’t living up to his “Final Boss” billing.
There were a few more jabs back and forth between the original warring cast members but (as expected) the actual, literal power went out for hours in the middle of Tuesday’s episode and so I didn’t quite catch the end of it.
In a shocking plot twist, Wednesday’s episode centred on BPL’s newly appointed chairman Dr Donovan Moxey’s past attempts at selling the mobile payment app of his “other” company to BPL. That pitch was apparently made off camera last year.
It was an unexpected storyline that no doubt could embarrass Bannister, depending on how it plays out.
Determined to revive his cancelled “Final Boss” persona, PM Minnis sent his stand-in Anthony “Ace” Newbold to test the waters and say that “The Final Boss” did not “indicate any concerns” on what the majority of Bahamians would most certainly view as a glaring conflict of interest on Moxey’s part.
And that’s the cliffhanger the latest episode ended on.
Will Moxey get to have his power and profit too? Will Bannister kill the “mobile app” storyline before it takes him out? Will “The Final Boss” (who, coincidentally, has his own dubious history with “conflicts of interest”) make another cameo appearance this season? Will Bahamians vote to “cancel” them all?
Find out on next week’s episode of “The Real Big Bosses of BPL.” That is...umm...if BPL doesn’t pull the plug on the actual, literal “current” again.
So basically the government is purchasing the Grand Lucayan on a lay-away plan... more or less?
Despite all the hush, hush and secrecy regarding the purchase of the Grand Lucayan, recently PM Dr Hubert Minnis (vaguely and painfully) tried to shed some light on the matter by mentioning a $10m down payment and closure on the sale within thirty days.
We’re so grateful for that nugget, “Doc”.
Now - thankfully- more information has surfaced.
In a recent Tribune article, a “confidential” “high ranking” “source” has revealed more details on the deal.
According to the “confidential source” - “We’ve agreed to pay $10m at the signing of the letter of intent, and another $20m when the sale document is completed and property is conveyed to us.”
“Then, every six months after that pay we’ll pay $5m until the balance is liquidated. I believe there is interest on it, three percent.”
“It’s a promissory note. We’re giving them a promissory note, it’s not a strict loan in a sense.”
“The government is going to borrow money but this whole transaction is an investment so we’re acquiring an asset and it will not count towards our annual deficit.”
“Now if the asset is impaired, if the value goes below what we paid for it, the deficit would have to be shown as a recurrent expenditure. That’s what happened to Resolve (Bahamas).”
Sounds like “we the people”, once again, will foot the bill for some grandiose political scheme, taking on all the losses in the process.
Personally, I’m all for Freeport’s economic recovery and long term stability. Heaven knows that Grand Bahamians have suffered for far too long under far too many administrations.
Something has to give.
But I have little patience for half-baked ideas that may end up doing more harm than good.
And before some of the political minions start their scripted rants, I have family and friends that live in Freeport, so it does matter deeply to me.
It’s not just me asking the same question (with minimal information on the matter and no FOIA to help out), Bahamians at large are wondering, “What’s really gern on?”
That includes president of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants, Gowon Bowe, who, according to The Tribune article, cautioned that “no prudent buyer would purchase the Grand Lucayan for more than the $65m paid by the government, and interest and operational costs will likely push the investment into deficit margins”.
Bowe also states, “While many say we don’t want hotel to close, the government owning it but not having capacity to open it in its entirety - does that stymie or prevent the same economic collapse they were trying to prevent?”
This whole Grand Lucayan thing is starting to sound more like that old Bahamian adage; “all buck up go”.
Hopefully for all of our sakes, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar and all parties concerned hit the proverbial “home run” the good Minister brags about, in relation to having potential buyers for the floundering property.
I sincerely hope he’s right, because if it goes the route of other failed FNM initiatives, that kind of “buck up” can cause the FNM to “go” come next election.