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Grand Bahama Power Company Levy A 'Slap In The Face'

Grand Bahama Power Company.

Grand Bahama Power Company.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

A veteran hotel union executive said the levy being imposed by the Grand Bahama Power Company is a “slap in the face” to the residents and businesses that have suffered immense losses too during Hurricane Dorian.

Kirkland Russell, the vice-president of Commonwealth of Bahamas Trade Union Congress and member of Coalition for Concerned Citizens, said EMERA/GBPC has no regard for the people of Grand Bahama.

“I would like to express great disappointment and unbelief in the fact that…EMERA on October 1, will implement a levy intended to recoup losses as a result of Dorian.

“GB would have endured too much and this is certainly not the time to talk about putting extra taxes and burdens on the back of the Bahamian people,” he stressed. “GB has suffered enough, there is no more juice to be squeezed out of GB.”

Mr Russell claims that EMERA has demonstrated over the years that it is not a good corporate citizen.

“For any company to believe at this time in GB that residents or customers ought to pay for the loss of your infrastructure is inhumane and wrong. It is totally wrong, and not the time,” said the trade unionist.

He urged EMERA to instead look for ways to lower cuts and not tax the people.

Mr Russell noted that GB has experienced the highest unemployment rate in its history at 60 percent.

“The tourism industry in GB is nothing. We have the major tourist hub closed and there is no date as to when the hotel will be up and running to support this island. Our airport is in disarray, and the harbor is in the same position,” he stated.

“The island of GB is in poor shape and EMERA must not defer but suck it up. That is your infrastructure.”

Mr Russell accused EMERA of passing on all its costs on customers.

“It seems they are interested in running a cost-free operation. A few years ago, when they constructed a new power plant at Peel Street, the cost was passed over to the citizens of GB; the fuel surcharge is passed onto citizens of GB,” he noted.

While EMERA has lost some 300 plus customers in East GB, and lots of revenue as a result of downsizing at the hotels, Mr Russell claims that the company is still earning a handsome sum and can bear the burden.

“There are other businesses on GB that had to deal with losses, and some the loss of families who died. GB is in dire straits and we need a caring company,” Mr Russell said.

He urged the government to consider allowing Northern Bahamas Utilities to operate - a Bahamian-owned company, which has made an application for power distribution for East and West GB.

The agreement to provide power to East and West Grand Bahama between the government and EMERA has come to an end.

“We say give that portion of the power distribution to the Bahamian company,” said Mr Russell.

Comments

hrysippus 1 year ago

This pastor Victor seems to believe that there is something wrong with the power company wanting to make a profit for it's shareholders. Why else would anyone ever buy shares in any company except to receive dividends from the profit that the company makes. Perhaps he is confusing businesses with non profit charitable organisations? Just another reason why churchmen should stay out of politics and politicians should stay out of churches.

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tribanon 1 year ago

And not a peep out of Minnis. Government should have never agreed that EMERA/GBPC could continue resetting their rates whenever they choose in order to maintain a certain level of profitability. Heartless and vindictive Minnis has literally allowed EMERA/GBPC to royally shaft their customers in the absolute worst of times.

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moncurcool 1 year ago

One of the things we always must keep in mind is intellectual honesty. Minnis did not implement the Hawksbill Creek Agreement that governs Freeport. Nor was Minnis the PM who authorized the sale of the GBPC to Emera. The GBPA is the one who is letting Emera run wild and allowing them to milk us residents of GB. Your rage, if you desire to be a voice with us in GB, should be directed at the Port Authorithy, who are the ones failing to protect the licensees and residents of Freeport.

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Economist 1 year ago

You are correct.

I suspect Victor and those are too scared to take on the real decision makers.

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tribanon 1 year ago

Minnis as the competent authority in our declared state of emergency has issued numerous orders that have interfered with and/or temporarily varied countless contractual arrangements involving umpteen parties throughout our nation. Right now he has the power to do whatever needs to be done to ensure Grand Bahamians are not being unfairly treated or taken advantage of in the midst of back-to-back crises (Dorian and Covid-19) that have devastated the Grand Bahama economy and left many Grand Bahamians unemployed and financially strapped. If need be, Minnis should order EMERA and the GBPA not to impose any new costs or rate increases, etc. on Grand Bahamians during the current state of emergency.

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ted4bz 1 year ago

As long as citizens refuse to control their own destiny they post themselves as equity. This handsome capital will be cashed into! There are no rulers that will resist this human resource. This is one of the most precious of all commodities of all nations, it’s a guarantee. In a last ditch effort to save themselves this capital will be used up, from whatever or whoever they are saving themselves from, no matter the cry. Even if it’s a campaign stunt, that is!

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