EDITOR, The Tribune.
We said that the former Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), now the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), belonged to The Bahamian people.
Well, and, I am aware why it was structured as such, which does not negate the fact that there is the need to revisit what the Legislators have done to the laws in this regard because, it cannot be right or fair, to have something belonging to the masses, being used as a weapon to strip them of the few dollars they worked so hard for and flushed down the toilet in this way. And in order to utilise the services, the people, owners of this corporation, were being billed, taxed-to-the-very-last dollar, to access what legally belonged to the Bahamian people, is criminal in our opinion, even if allowed in the laws of the land?
How can you say that this corporation is owned by the state, a revenue generating entity, and run by a Board-of-Directors, and a complement of mismanagement/line staffers. And for years Bahamians have been up in arms with the fuel surcharges that amounted to a higher payment rate, than the electricity actually consumed, how come?
That they have had to pay, and with no relief in sight-to-date, is cause for concern?
This entity has not tabled any profits down through the years, and we still haven’t a clue about how much money sits in BPL’s Bank Account, our money? If they did, the owners of the corporation have not received a cheque in the mail during the Yuletide Season, from profits, why?
What are we doing? There is no concern being shown for the small man, consumers, never mind the promises, why?
The fuel on the international market is one thing, but how can The Bahamas Government continue to subsidise Bahamas Power & Light when it is an entity that should perhaps be liquidated? And nothing said about what were the millions paid in executives, staff salaries? Yet, the increases on light bills are unbearable, why?
Two days before the general elections of that particular year, the then Government purchased a twenty-four million dollar generator. Why? Why are we continuing to throw good money down this very dark hole, what to do about its viability or inviability would have long been decided by now, in the natural, during the normal course of things, if this were in Canada or America for sure?
Any corporation not turning profits should be hewn down (to use a Biblical principle), and especially being bankrolled by governments to date...costing owners of it in the hundreds of millions of dollars, it seemed to me that a separation is needed, because, as the government(s) support sits to the tune of ridiculous and unjustified sums, is the more our national debt climbs, etc?
There is also litigation in process by former executives at odds with the then government and Board of Directors, allegedly the unlawful firings, etc?
And could potentially add to the already burdensome Bahamian taxpayers hardships, etc., as they were expecting to shoulder the mistakes spawned, not only by the various Boards and managements of BEC, BPL, inclusive of the political injection of their take on it, their directives down through the years, bears blame, also?
And recently in the parliament of the Bahamas, the mud being slung across the aisles on who did what? And who didn’t do what? When both political parties, PLP and FNM, were equally as guilty, what a travesty, I think?
There is no question in my mind and the opinions of many Bahamians, that the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC)- we grew up with, and now BPL – has never made a profit, when the average light bills paid were between $150, $250, $350, $450, and, or even $600, by scores of Bahamians. These consumers, workers, many paid below the minimum wages, and I believed that the bulk of those sums had to do with surcharges, why? I have personal knowledge because I got bills that were disputed.
At the time the Corporation was estimating how much is owed, what garbage, how can you estimate people’s bills - is really proof of the levels of contempt - it has for Bahamians, I am sorry, but there is no other country under the Sun, where such a Corporation would be able to do it, and get away with it.
Why were they doing this - the jury’s still out? Anytime a consumer gets an estimated bill, means that it could have been overpriced? Even underpriced? But what were the chances of that bill, or those bills being underpriced, was perhaps one in a thousand?
These were some of what the Corporation has been allowed to do to the Bahamian consumers. Bahamian people need relief, and while numerous governments have said that they were working to ease the electrical burdens of consumers, the facts on the ground tell a different story.
How can you rob Peter, to pay Paul, hold true?
It is time to end the strife concerning this injustice. Let us fire the entire management team and bring in the appropriate skill set to manage it.
Let us reduce the salaries where necessary? And let the government cancel the subvention?
We just cannot go on much longer this way. The Bahamian people need relief. It is criminal what we are doing to the owners of BPL (the Bahamian Taxpayers).
As one lady working at the Nassau Straw Market in downtown Nassau has lamented. “That the two political parties of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, are keeping the Bahamian people down.” Is something to be considered?
November 17, 2022.