Will Stephen Holowesko now take legal action?
Statement of Stephen Holowesko
In early July 2019 a news segment was aired on Bahamian national television’s EyeWitness News. The segment appeared on the Beyond the Headlines section hosted by Clint Watson and was captioned “BPL Still in the Dark As Light is Shed on Secret Deals”. In that segment many wrongful and malicious allegations were made about my family and me. The following serves as my public response.
EyeWitness News’ false Allegations:
During the segment Mr. Watson said that seven new generators purchase by Bahamas Power
and Light (“BPL”) were funded by the Fortress Group and that when EyeWitness News looked
into the Fortress Group they found that some of the principals of the Fortress Group were
Holoweskos – my family. Clint Watson went on to say that this would mean BPL had secured a loan from a company of whom my family, the Holoweskos, are principals and therefore that BPL is now in debt to my family.
Further, by naming me with reference to my mother, Lynn Holowesko, Mr. Watson went on to point out that my position as Deputy Chairman of BPL would mean that BPL and I have operated contrary to the principle of conflict of interest by allowing BPL to enter into a 95 million dollar loan agreement with a company of which my family members are principals.
Mr. Watson suggested that this loan agreement was part of a bigger strategic plan, that, should BPL ever fully privatise, would put my family, through our alleged interest in Fortress, in forefront position to buy BPL. He went on to say that the previous BPL Board was being pressured, but resisted, entering into a contract with Fortress and insinuated that the previous BPL board was released because they would not succumb to the pressure I was exerting on it to enter into a contract with Fortress. Further Mr. Watson implied the former Chief Operating Officer Christina L
Alston resigned to remove herself from the conflict I was involved in, implying that I also had indirect influence in this matter as well.
Mr. Watson suggested my alleged conflict of interest at BPL is an attributing factor to the
inability for the Bahamas to enact a Freedom of Information Act and further made the
suggestion that recent power outages are a part of a conspiracy which I am allegedly involved in.
Mr. Watson turned commentary over to a Mr. Lincoln Bain. Mr. Bain stated that, if the above
allegations were true, not only would they be grounds for an immediate national election, but that I would also be criminally liable. Mr. Bain indirectly compared me to former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin who was convicted of, amongst other corruption charges, money laundering and bribery and is serving 10 years in prison, and to former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick, who was convicted of 24 felony charges and is serving 28 years in prison for, amongst other things, wire fraud and racketeering.
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 L. Alston.
It is false that my tenure at BPL has any correlation to the unpassed Freedom of Information Act.
The comments that were made on EyeWitness News are outrageous, insulting, and personally
damaging to my personal reputation, my business reputation and to the reputation of my family.
EyeWitness News made numerous wild, inaccurate, baseless and slanderous allegations and insinuations which are wholly fabricated and dangerously inaccurate.
It is my opinion that this segment betrays common ethical journalism standards by failing to adequately fact check, failing to use reliable sources and portraying the speculative opinion of Mr. Watson as truthful. Further, at no time did EyeWitness News reach out to me for comment, a standard that is the norm in any competent reporting jurisdiction – something I am aware of given my six years as a journalist accredited with the White House Press Corps.
I demand that the allegations and insinuations contained in the subject segment be retracted
entirely and that EyeWitness News, its principals, Mr. Watson and Mr. Bain issue a public apology to me and to my family.
I will pursue the defamatory content that EyeWitness News has published against me to the fullest capacity afforded to me by law.