BPL deputy chairman to sue Eyewitness News


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHAMAS Power and Light deputy chairman Stephen Holowesko has refuted media reports that his family’s company funded the purchase of seven new generators. In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Holowesko threatened legal action against the news outlet which aired the claims this week.

He said he will pursue the “defamatory content” that was broadcast to the “fullest capacity” afforded to him by law, saying the contents were “speculative opinion” as opposed to facts.

BPL, in a statement, also indicated that it is mulling over whether it will pursue legal action against the station in question for any damages it suffered as a result of the “false statements” made during the broadcast in question.

In the meantime, BPL demanded a retraction and an apology for the “inaccuracies perpetrated” by the programme, which aired on Monday night.

During a segment of ILTV’s “Beyond the Headlines” earlier this week, it was claimed that seven new generators recently purchased by BPL were funded by the Fortress Group. The show’s host alleged some of Fortress’ principles were Holoweskos and suggested that the prominent family was in an advantageous position, should BPL ever be privatised, to buy the company.

It was also alleged on the programme that the previous board of BPL was let go because they did not give into the pressure Mr Holowesko was exerting on it to enter into a contract with Fortress, among other allegations.

In response, Mr Holowesko said: “It is false that I have any interest in Fortress. I do not, nor have I ever, nor has any of my family ever had any interest in Fortress in any manner wheresoever.

“Therefore, any loan agreement which BPL allegedly entered into with Fortress would have no direct or indirect benefit to myself or my family. It is false that BPL took a loan from Fortress. BPL did enter into an agreement with Wartsila after consultation with Shell North America, and worked through Shell North America to source and select engines for Station A to replace power destroyed in the September 2018 fire.

“It is false that I pressured the previous BPL board to enter into contracts with Fortress; it is false that I was involved in the previous BPL board’s dismissal; it is false that I was involved in the former COO’s resignation. I was asked to sit on the board of BPL in August of 2018, only after the previous board had been dismissed by the minister of works. I had no influence in the dismissal of the previous board of BPL and I had no influence in the resignation of former COO Christina Alston.

“It is false that my tenure at BPL has any correlation to the Freedom of Information Act (which is not fully enacted).”

He added the “outrageous, insulting, and personally damaging” claims hurt his reputation and that of his family. The media outlet aired an apology on Tuesday night about the report.

Meanwhile in its statement on the matter, BPL also said that the suggestion that the new Wärtsilä engines the company purchased had a price tag of $95m is incorrect. BPL said that the $95m represents the entire cost of the new power plant at Clifton Pier Station A, something that was addressed by BPL Chief Executive Officer Whitney Heastie in February.


Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 11 months ago

The Holowesko family and BPL.....well, what can we say? I guess we can be rest assured there's a whole lot more behind this story.....just as we are only now beginning to find out in the case of Brent Symonette's 'resignation' as a cabinet minister shortly before his grand monopolistic business aspirations involving our country's infrastructural needs were made public. LMAO

observer2 4 years, 11 months ago

“Thou doth protest to much” William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

The quote is a line spoken by Queen Gertrude in a play within a Shakesprean play as a character proclaims thier innonces too forcefully.

Truly a sad day for our country when a predatory utility company in conjunction with its high mighty and wealthy directors seek to crush the free press. Perhaps going back to the days when ZNS had no competition and corporations voted maybe more appropriate for the current administration.

It’s as if the people of the Bahamas have not suffered enough at the hands of this monopolistic entity.

Please please have some empathy. All we mere mortals have left is conspiracy theories to entertain us in the unrelenting heat, no electricity and electric bills as big as a mortgage.

Hoda 4 years, 11 months ago

You don't think it's sad to spread false incorrect information.

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 11 months ago

Do you think it's wrong for very wealthy Bahamians to be cutting deals with senior elected officials and their appointees behind the backs of the Bahamian people?

DWW 4 years, 11 months ago

Me thinks you are referring to Davis, wilson, Hanna, Martin Co? Etu Brute?

Millennial242 4 years, 11 months ago

If the free press misleads the public, then they should be held accountable. I'd rather all the facts be released, instead of opinions. Hopefully this is resolved swiftly so that the more important matter of fixing the power supply in this country can be the prime focus again.

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 11 months ago

Holowesko should resign from BPL's board to allow him to then do whatever time consuming things he feels he has to do to protect his reputation. Right now we need for all of the directors of BPL to be giving their undivided attention to finding permanent fixes for BPL's many vexing problems as a failing state-controlled enterprise. All hands are needed on deck....and should not be easily distracted.

DWW 4 years, 11 months ago

you lost that lucrative job aye?

sheeprunner12 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't blame Clint Watson ........ blame the Government for not being transparent with the People on all of the SOEs ........... and more.

Dawes 4 years, 11 months ago

Fully agreed, and the fact that BPL lies. They said no load shedding this year, then 3 weeks back said they were renting generators and then the issues would be over once installed within a week or two. now 3 weeks later still load shedding. They either are clueless or lying.

yeahyasee 4 years, 11 months ago

I watched the episode and my mind ran across Clint's speculation about the Holowesko family in relation to Fortress group. While it may boost viewers, as a journalist he should know better and knew that this would happen. Basically the majority of citizens who would of watched that episode would think that there is connection but he didn't provide any facts to support his speculation. LOL

realfreethinker 4 years, 11 months ago

Very observant. When I watched it I was surprise that a "journalist" was putting out speculation and innuendo. I am nor surprise that there is a threat to sue and a retraction from the media company. He may have lost his job on this one if it was me making that decision

Bahamianbychoice 4 years, 11 months ago

I watched the episode and I did not hear or interpret from it that Mr. Watson insinuated Mr. Holowesko pressured the previous board to enter into any contract with Fortress or did he say that Mr. Holowesko caused the departure of the previous COO. Mr. Watson should have fact checked but he did the next evening correct and apologize publically.

I have to say I am VERY doubtful that Shell NA sourced and selected the engines that were purchased. I cannot see a company with the financial resources it has advising this..if so why did Shell NA not pay for the engines as agreed initially. Who is paying now for the cleanup up at Clifton? The entire process thus far has been chaotic and costly. Can't see the process being this unorganized if Shell NA had the go ahead to proceed.

BPL needs to release the report on the fire at Clifton....Mr. Holowesko may have a bigger problem as a sitting board member , if as rumoured, the present CEO gave the instruction to start the engine against policy/recommendation of staff which caused the fire. If this is confirmed then the Board as a whole needs to explain why the CEO remains in place..has this then contributed to the ongoing challenges which has created the crisis in the Bahamian energy sector which has proven extremely impactful to the economy?

TalRussell 4 years, 11 months ago

"Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, comrades may hate you. But those comrades who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself". . - Richard M. Nixon -

Ashinnabash 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm still stuck trying to understand how BPL can raise the light bill by 70%, cut our power off EVERYDAY and still expect us to pay. It'll be cheaper if you'll burn yourselves down. #FBPL

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 11 months ago

Seems like all of this is a result of lack of transparency. Why does anyone have to speculate who is behind what deal?

leeroy996 4 years, 11 months ago

Can you read? It has nothing to do with transparency and everything to do with fake news. Why should BPL discuss the bidding process while it's ongoing.

hnhanna 4 years, 11 months ago

It about time someone pays for making false statements. Facebook & Whassup Apps also need to be sued

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone remember Minnis's often repeated promise in the run up to the national general election in May 2017 that he would ensure a government led by him as PM would be the most transparent government the Bahamas has ever had? What a joke!

BMW 4 years, 11 months ago

Bpl needs to look to the power company in Grand Bahama to see how it is done. Make G.B. tha capital and get reliable power.

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