“This has gone beyond a crisis. This is an all-out catastrophe.”
These were the chilling words of Bahamas Electrical Workers Union president Paul Maynard.
Outspoken as the union chief may be at times, his words yesterday reflected the mood of people across the nation struggling to cope with ongoing power shortages.
Worse, the estimated date for when things might get back to normal seems to get pushed back and back again – Mr Maynard says the new $95m power plant might not be up and running by March next year now.
“Pray to God that November is a mild November otherwise we will be load shedding until then,” he went on.
It is time – past time, really – for the leadership of BPL to put their cards on the table.
The leadership has been almost invisible throughout the suffering of Bahamians left without power. That has to end. Now.
The chief executive and the chairman need to speak up, and explain exactly what the situation is, what the problems are, how they intend to remedy them – and when this nightmare will be over.
There are questions to be asked about the shortage of generation capacity. Yesterday, Mr Maynard revealed that one of the Baillou Hills Power Plant engines is producing less than half the power it should – 9MW instead of 20MW. Meanwhile, the rental units are also producing 15MW less than they are supposed to. Why are these engines short of power? Let’s hear some clear answers spelling out exactly what the problem is, how it happened, and what’s being done to solve it. No vague answers, but detailed point-by-point explanations – and answers to questions from the press too.
BPL is paid to provide this service – and its leaders would do well to remember that.
From the outside there seems to be an absence of forward planning – for example the engines that were ordered to arrive in the middle of the rainy period here in The Bahamas and then left to sit unable to be moved because of… you guessed it, too much rain.
New Providence hasn’t been the only place to suffer either – with problems in Bimini after a fire there and Abaco too – and residents there also deserve full explanations of the situation.
Officials have called a press conference for Sunday. We hope there will be no platitudes, no attempt to play down the situation. It’s time to come clean. Tell us everything – no matter how bad the truth is.
The Bahamian people deserve no less.
We must learn from horror attack
The horrific last moments of Jordan Lindsey, the American tourist killed in a shark attack off Rose Island, have been revealed by her family.
The details are hard to read and we can only imagine the horror of the situation. Her father told Good Morning America how her mother heard Jordan shout her mother’s name, and then she screamed. Her mother called for Jordan to swim to her, but she realised that a shark had bitten her arm off.
The last thing Jordan said was “Mom, there’s another shark coming!” before the second shark struck her.
Jordan was pulled to shore, but when the boat came to take them for medical help it had no medical supplies, no first aid kit – just towels to put over her leg.
We hope all those connected with the industry read the details of the incident. We hope they share our horror. We hope the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Marine Resources and more read every word.
Then we hope they ask what can be changed. What regulations could be in place to ensure there is a lookout on duty during tours to watch for sharks? What could be done to ensure medical supplies – even just a first aid kit – had to be in place on boats? What can technology offer to help prevent such situations – drones perhaps to help keep watch?
Some ideas may be helpful, some may not – but the horror of Jordan’s last minutes mean we should ask the questions. We owe it to her.