Bradley Roberts Responds BEC Disconnection Policy

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Bradley Roberts, Former MP and Cabinet Minister Of The Bahamas.

Mr Robert Full Text:

Dear All, Sideburn in his Cartoon on 18th Sept 2008 Nassau Guardian referred to the Prime Minister as “Hubert “Alexander De Brightest” Ingraham and declared “You light up my life, chief…das what you call a bright idea!!! ;referring to the financial relief for BEC consumers.

I am advised that never in the history of BEC were so many customer lights disconnected for failing to pay their bills in full. BEC’s policy for donkey’s years has been to work with it customers utilizing an installment payment program. The simple question is why the policy without notice to the public changed and who was responsible?

Thousands of struggling Bahamian Families were disconnected because of the policy introduced by Hubert Ingraham heartless uncaring FNM Government which was first approved by BEC Board of Directors lead by its Chairman Frederik F Gottlieb and sanctioned by Ministers Earl Deveaux and Phenton Neymour. One may get the impression that the first time the Prime Minister heard of the level of cruelty placed on the shoulders of tens of thousands Bahamians men women and children was when the Leader of the Opposition raised the matter with him on a flight to Inagua following the passage of Hurricane Ike. Clearly the numerous complaints made to FNM MP’s about BEC’s refusal to agree to installment payments all fell on deaf ears.

There is an old Bahamian saying that there is nothing wrong in giving the Devil his/her due but it should be earned and certainly not if he/she created the same.

  • Drama King

    Apart from the vocabulary flowing and nothing with sense coming from their lips, the serious NON CARING attitude of this government makes me sick. I CANT WAIT for the time to come for SENSIBLE Bahamians to remember all of this and VOTE THEM OUT OF THIS PLACE.

  • Gofer

    all a dem have super large vocabulary but ain’t sayin’ nuttin.

  • Gofer

    We saw much building in their 1st 10 years. Ain’t nothing happening now.

  • WOW!

    Gofer, the sad thing about it is that we have a government in power who cares more about how many new buildings they build and not the welfare of the people in the buildings.

  • Gofer

    GCF… You know you are making plenty sense and I know just what you are talking about. But what happen to being smart and having a heart for country. We don’t need two old boys to be runnin games with a whole nation at stake. They should be working for Bahamians to have a stake in their own country. We are supposed to feel like they are really working for us. We put them there not to pal around. People are dying on the streets, Tourism is down, the young fellas and ladies on the streets have an identity crisis. Etheir they trying to be fifty cents or Trina. The government need to work for the people and stop playin. There are many social, cultural, financial ills that need to be faced. I feel like we have old friends at the top just foolin’ around and Bahamians are not benefiting. We have a government just to say we have one and we have an opposition just to say we have one. But they don’t seem to really be doing anything for Bahamians. Its just a joke must be to them.

  • WOW!

    Drama King, that is the way Hubert and the FNM work. I bet you next year or sometime before election, they will lower the duty rates that they have jacked up sky high and act as if they are the best thing sinced sliced bread for doing it.

  • WOW!

    Generalcrazy, your power was of for four hours? I bet your BEC bill will be just as high though, LOL.

  • @WOW.
    its quite easy wen yah live out east an dey always turnin off ya power anyway. Power was off fer four hours lass night dred.

  • Drama King

    SHRINKING???? The middle class is beyond shrinking but that’s the plan of evil Ingraham.

    Ingraham is a micro manager and HE orchestrated the massive disconnections. Then try play innocent like he feel sorry for poor people.

  • WOW!

    Joe Blow, it is not easy to keep your consumption under 800, that means no a/c, water heater among others. While I agree this will help the poor, it will do nothing to ease the burden on the shrinking middle class.

  • Read in the paper that the fuel surcharge will be reduced for the next 3 months for those whose consumption is under 800 KWH. This should help the “poor” a little since it will virtually cut their fuel surcharge in half. Now if B.E.C. will just decide on a mindset of pooling all arrears money they collect into solar pannels for their buildings’ extensive roof span they can let the sun supply some of the power at little cost. Next they can extend the project to every government building; schools included.

  • WOW!

    The House was still on summer break at the time. That’s why Christie couldn’t speak there. Ingraham is Prime Minister. Why didn’t he know (or care) before about the poor people suffering with high light bills? I bet he would have know if it was a serious issue affecting those who live on the Eastern Road!

  • GCF

    Gofer, you surprise? Christie had a talk with his buddy Ingraham on the airplane?
    You think these politicians don’t know you’ll Bahamians? If I were Christie or Ingraham I would do the same thing. They (all politicians) know what ever they do you’ll will kick them out of office with out batting an eye.
    Therefore, each member must have a buddy on the other side. Mr. Christie is smarter than many may thing.

  • I would like the B.E.C. Board to come clean and let us know generally who owes what and how much. Not individuals, unless they are high profile who should always be paying their bills and on time. No names but categories eg. Elected officials, government employees, businesses. government buildings, hospitals, churches schools etc. Amounts owed in each category. That way we know just what groups owe and whether we wish to assist them with our tax payer money. In the meantime the government should go back to collecting taxes from fuel only to the extent that it was when oil was imported at $65.00 a barrel. This savings should be passed on to the consummer no matter how little or how much. Another way to help is when things get back to normal that persons who pay their bills in full and on time receive a 3% rebate while those who are late and in arrears be charged a 3% assessment. This will be an incentive to pay on time. W&S should operate in the same way. It however is never a good idea to disconnect water supply as we all have a right to be supplied with good potable water. That dep’t might have to begin putting leans on houses and buildings so when they are sold the arrears can be collected off the top.
    There are many ways to skin a cat.

  • WOW!

    I always say this when the topic of BEC is brought up. They need to set a good example and PAY THEIR OWN BILLS. Ask any company in the Bahamas that does business with them, they are one of the worst paying client.

  • Gofer

    What ever the policies were that BEC had in place worked until something changed. Maybe Priminister and Neymour know what happened. I agree with Joe that you need to pay for the service rendered. But the usual charge more than doubled so many of those people who were ontime with payment fell behind easily. Life gets hard sometimes and if you are a trooper like me you have to hold your head up, trust God and keep going. I do wish to have confidence in a government who will look out for the people who elected them. So Christie had a talk with his buddy Ingraham on the airplane. Why can’t he speak in the House Of Assembly?

  • GCF

    WOW, Talking about..conserving and buy smaller vehicles?
    In the 1980’s one parliament minister said he choose to drive his own car for months after being elected. He said the other elected parliamentarians wanted to throw him out the House of Assembly for saving government money.
    Today you can fine that WONDERFUL GENTLEMEN talking with the average man on Porters Cay Dock, His head never went “INTO THE CLOUDS” like many other parliamentarians. Maybe that is why he never suffered from, L.C.S. Luxury Car Syndrome.

  • HemiBahama

    Boy one thing i know for sure is that the government is trying to collect all the outstanding monies these big business owe them. The innocent will suffer. Bradley Roberts them know a lot of big business owe BEC all kinds of monies and will never pay. This is a political game and only the Bahamian people will suffer. Ingraham was trying to force BEC to collect their money. But as always we get caught in the crossfire.

  • Come, let’s get real. None of us has a way of knowing that the P.M. orchestrated the disconnections. Certainly it was not to his political advantage to do so. We do know that he stepped in to try to assuage some of the damage. Personally I, for one, do not approve of people not paying for a service they have received. And I am mindful of the fact that when others do not pay for their used service I, who always pay, will be on the hook for those slackers. Also understand that disconnections were not confined to “the poor” but to those who can afford to pay but just think they have better things to do with their money. It has, on occasion, been brought to our attention that those in powerful position (including B.R. himself) were negligent in paying power bills. While some might be inconvienced at the stoppage of their power supply this is not a country where one can not servive without that supply. Further, persons’ billings that were only a month or so behind did not have their supply discontinued. Those who were chronic non-payers did. The “truly poor” have means of appealing to government departments when they run into problems. Let us not confuse the issue here. We must adjust our mindset and realize that we have an obligation and responsibility to pay for any legitimate service rendered. While I ascribed to being my brothers’ keeper I do not intend to be a “doormat for persons who try to take advantage of a slack system.

  • WOW!

    I heard Neymour on the radio talking about conserving and buy smaller vehicles. His wife drive a big SUV and al the government Ministers drive big V8 cars. Practise what you preach.

  • Gofer

    Thanks for those numbers Mr. Coleby. Minister Neymour’s dumb advice to conserve. That’s a no brainer. Me and my family bathing in cold water. My water heater done been off. So please Mr. Big Minister Neymour you ain’t dat smart. How could you have done this man! How many in your constituency light off? You sound good on the radio and on the platform but you ain’t sayin’ nothing and your boss making a fool of you!

  • Elcott Coleby

    Bradley Roberts correctly pointed out that it was always the policy of BEC to facilitate its customers with workable payment plans. The same rule applies to BTC and the W&SC. The problem was exacerbated when the board of BEC changed the policy (with the blessings of the FNM cabinet). When the people screamed, hollered, and complained, PM Ingraham simply back tracked and reverted to the original policy. The net sum of his efforts is zero; he did nothing for those over burdened consumers. What followed his decision in parliament was pure PROPAGANDA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS. The callers to the talk shows, the lady interviewed on ZNS News, and sideburns’ cartoon were all scripted acts of propaganda to distract the Bahamian people from the salient issue at hand.

    The point is that in May 2007 when the FNM came to office, BEC’s fuel surcharge was 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour. By July 2008 that figure had ballooned to 24.8 cents per kilowatt hour. During August 2008, BEC reduced it to 23.3 cents per kilowatt hour. This is nothing when one considers the 17% tax holiday given to BEC in addition to the reduction in the price of oil by more than 30%. These two measures accrued substantial revenues to BEC but to date they REFUSE to pass it on (to any measureable degree) to the consumers. The real issue is for BEC to address the surcharge, not for the government to engage in mass distraction with the help of the media (or is it the abuse of the media??)

    Right thinking Bahamians must continue to press BEC and the government on the real issue that concerns the consumers which is the unjustifiably high rate of the fuel surcharge.

    Bahamians are well advised that the singular vehicle through which the government moves a country forward is the vehicle of public policy, not smoke screens, not propaganda, and not public relations. Gofer is right that the FNM is playing politics with the lives of the Bahamian people. This is reprehensible on the part of the government

    I suspect that unless and until the root cause of this vexing issue is addressed, the complaints of dissatisfaction will continue.

  • Gofer

    The primeminister is great at politics. Most people don’t pay attention. Nobody really knows how BEC got to this. The majority of Bahamians are so shallow that they will only remember to praise Ingraham with his so called relief effort. All he is doing is putting out the fire he started. They will be ready to make him primeminister again over this and that’s a shame.

  • Drama King

    I hope Bradley Roberts has more to say on this as the former Minister in charge of BEC. Stay on it Mr. Roberts !!

  • WOW!

    Like I say before, Ingraham anf FNM like to stab you in the back and then give you a band aid to put on it.

  • Drama King

    FINALLY someone in the Opposition has awoken!!! Thank you Mr. Roberts for speaking out on this !!!

    Hubert Ingraham along with his hit men sanctioned those disconnections and then he played the fool when it was brought up to him in conversation. He is the culprit !!! He is the most uncaring, twisted person in this country.

  • The people, who were following behind the torch, did not realized that sometimes the fire burns out, then your find yourselves fumbling around in the dark, searching for a match and a candle.