Breaking Expose at BEC in Freeport News written by Fred Sturrup….
Look in da hell what is going down at BEC!
(Since he was appointed Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, when the present Perry Christie Central Administration took office in May of 2012, Leslie Miller has taken issue with the large amount of overtime payments collected by BEC employees. The Tall Pines Member of Parliament made no bones about considering the system that results in the huge overtime payouts as dubious. He laments that along with the ongoing operational expenses the government corporation cannot afford to continue with the scheduling that produces the overtime figures. Of course, he has been severely criticized by the Bahamas Electrical Workers Union and its associate labor groups. However, Miller has been steadfast in trying, in his words, to “take the burden off the backs of the Bahamian people.” Miller probably for his own reasons never divulged or was unable to get all of the overtime payments related to the various BEC departments. The Freeport News’ General Manager/Managing Editor Fred Sturrup has uncovered the overtime payments for a number of BEC job areas and reports in a series beginning today).
By Fred Sturrup
FN General Manager/Managing Editor
A Bahamas Electricity Corporation maintenance mechanic at the Clifton Pier Station who makes an annual salary of $54,534.25, collected through overtime pay, more than $60,000 from January to September 14, 2014.
Data reaching The Freeport News revealed that on January 14, a particular senior maintenance mechanic was paid $4,467.78 for overtime; $6,988.63 in February; $7,711.48 in March; $7,319.18 in April; $8,072.90 in May; $1,977.62 in June; $8,951.72 in July; $10, 075.34 in August; and $5,427.21 in September 2014. The grand total for overtime for just nine months was $60,991.86.
The nine months of overtime pay represents $6,457.61 more than the position salary for the entire year.
The country’s minimum pay per annum is $7,800.00. This means, the senior maintenance mechanic’s overtime difference compared to his gross salary, dwarfs the minimum wage salary for an entire year.
Put in another context, the overtime payments for both April, July and the whopping $10,075.34 for August amounted to more than a minimum wager makes for the whole year.
A generator operator in Eleuthera with an annual salary of $39,696.46, according to the data uncovered, was paid $28, 857.73 in overtime, as of September 14, 2014. The overtime for January was $3,162.99; $3,612.57 for February; $2,906.24 for March; $3,018.49; $3,018.49 for April; $3,580.46 for May; $3,243.31 for June; $2,906.12 for July; $4,051.40 for August; and $2,376.25 for September 2014. An average overtime payment for October, November and December would bring the operator’s overtime payment for the year of 2014 right in line with his main gross salary.
It is this aspect of the BEC system that has been quite bothersome to Miller. He has made his case to the general public, from the House of Assembly forum and it is understood he has made presentations to the Cabinet of The Bahamas regarding a restructuring of overtime schedules that are not so onerous.
The taxpayers in the country are under a heavy strain due to the insolvency of the corporation. The Government of The Bahamas, it is understood, gives regular financial assistance to BEC.
Also, The Freeport News has been informed that the Government of The Bahamas proposes to borrow $750 million from the investment banking company J. P. Morgan. The money according to a source is to pay off the $450 million sovereign debt of BEC and to purchase a $200 million new power plant.
It’s because of the ongoing high financial requirements faced by BEC that Miller has been advocating some kind of meaningful adjustment in the BEC expenses, in particular the overtime payments.
(This series will continue on Tuesday, January 13).