The FNM Government Hid the Undisputable Facts that Contributed to the ‘Broke Status’ of BEC, Which They Dare Not Blame on the PLP
PRESS STATMENT: The Progressive Liberal Party is once again demanding that Hubert Ingraham, Minister Earl Deveaux and Jr. Minister Phenton Neymour come clean on BEC.
When the FNM came to power in May 2007, they found a thriving, expanding Bahamas Electricity Corporation, which they have allowed through arrogance and mismanagement to be brought to its very knees.
BEC has two (2) major power generating facilities – one at Clifton Pier and the other at Blue Hills.
BEC’s Clifton Pier Power Station (CPPS) was designed to carry the base load for the corporation and to be the major generator of electricity for New Providence and Paradise Island. It has always performed in this capacity. The generators at CPPS were designed to utilize ‘Bunker C’ fuel, which is the most cost effective of the fuels used by BEC.
BEC’s Blue Hill Power Plant (BHPP) was designed to be the secondary plant, to supplement high peak demands and to serve as a back-up to CPPS in the event of any challenges and emergencies at that plant. The generators at BHPP are comprised of gas turbines and use ADO (diesel) fuel. The cost of this fuel is significantly higher than that of Bunker C, the dominant fuel used at Clifton.
Notwithstanding Jr Minister Neymour’s assurances in Parliament that there would be little or no outages during the 2010 summer months, sources have confirmed that many of BEC’s Clifton Pier generators have been offline, or running well below their maximum capacity, due to a lack of maintenance.
Jr Minister Neymour’s assurance is in stark contrast to the recent acknowledgement by BEC’s General Manager that the corporation has been unable to carry out maintenance on its primary generating plant at Clifton and elsewhere, due to a lack of funding.
This resulted in a significant increase in utilization of the Blue Hills gas turbines, which are fueled by the more expensive ADO (diesel) fuel to provide power generation in New Providence and Paradise Island. Further, we were advised that as a result of the lack of maintenance of Clifton Pier generators, the corporation was forced to use the more expensive alternate ADO fuel at that plant many times.
The sum total of all of this is that BEC has consumed a great deal of ADO (diesel) fuel, which has added considerably to BEC’s total fuel bill. This has contributed significantly to the serious financial difficulties that BEC now finds itself in. We challenge the Jr Minister Neymour to disclose the projected loss of BEC for the fiscal year ending September 30th 2010.
In light of this telling tale of mismanagement, the PLP again demands that Hubert Ingraham’s FNM government comes clean with the Bahamian people. The PLP will ask for the appointment of a select committee to investigate the operations of BEC from 2 May 2007 to date and to be given the usual committee powers to summon and command the attendance of the relevant parties with documentation as the committee deems necessary.
In the interim and in the spirit of transparency, the government is asked to provide the public
with the details regarding the amount of power generated by the Clifton Pier Plant over the past 3 summers as compared to that generated at Blue Hills.
While the FNM continue to grossly mismanage BEC and the economy, the standard of living in the Bahamas is in decline. The average Bahamian is worse off today than when Hubert Ingraham returned to power in 2007.
The FNM fiscal policy is based on a six point plan: TAX, SPEND, BORROW, TAX MORE, SPEND MORE, BORROW MORE.
In the five years 2002-2007 the Christie led government introduced no new taxes, but instead improved the administration of revenue collection, particularly with the amendments to the law on stamp duties. A second strategy was to facilitate the expansion of the Bahamian economy. These measures proved very effective and successful and are in stark contrast to the unsustainable tax and spend fiscal policies of the current FNM administration.
Hubert Ingraham and the FNM have badly failed the Bahamian people and are strangers to being open and honest with them.