Neymour: DPM should resign over BPL failures

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Former Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour yesterday called on Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis to resign, insisting he is directly responsible for the missteps and failures of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) and the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC).

Noting that parts of central and southern Eleuthera were without power since Monday evening due to a fuel shortage and damage to one of BPL’s generators, Neymour said, “This clearly is a prime example of the level to which BPL has now fallen.”

However, the former minister said BPL is only the “scapegoat for the failures of the government”.

“Although they are managing the company, the minister has a responsibility to ensure that the basics are provided for his ministry,” Neymour told The Nassau Guardian.

“I think he has done a very poor job in this regard.

“He has been totally inadequate.

“… I also feel he should resign.”

The government signed a management services agreement with BPL in February.

In a statement, BPL acknowledged the outages, claiming system failures for the last couple of days.

The company also claimed power was restored as of 5 p.m. yesterday.

“BPL is looking at the challenges in the past 24 hours and is looking at immediate and long term solutions to improve overall reliability in Eleuthera,” the company said.

It is the latest in a series of prolonged outages throughout the country over the last several weeks.

Neymour added, “This issue in Eleuthera is the responsibility of both BPL and the government because BPL is in such a poor financial position that [it] has not been maintaining adequate inventory of fuel.

“That is the issue. Why has the inventory fallen so low?

“… Some of the basics are not being covered and ensured by the government.

“The minister himself should ensure that BPL has adequate generation and has adequate fuel.

“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

“And they have dropped the ball repeatedly.

“The minister is not doing his job, nor the government.”

But Davis has said the vitriol being directed at BPL is not fair.

According to Davis, the company has been unable to move forward with its business plan pending negotiations with the government.

This plan could include a rate restructuring.

BPL CEO Pamela Hill recently proposed an electricity rate increase to raise capital needed to invest in equipment, infrastructure and personnel, but this was rejected by Cabinet.

Neymour said the government should be honest about the challenges surrounding BPL.

He said the power failure in Eleuthera highlights extensive the challenges facing the power company.

“I am truly disappointed in this current government, that BPL is in such a poor financial state that it is not only running out of fuel in the Family islands, but I am advised that the island of Bimini is now in jeopardy of running out of fuel and may be in a position where it too, [could] run out of electricity in a matter of hours,” Neymour said.

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