Search results for : bahamas electricity corporation

Showing 1 to 30 of 1000 results


News Article

September 11, 2014
Chinese investment could be 'catalyst'

A leading downtown developer said he would personally welcome proposed Chinese investment in downtown Nassau, arguing that the area is in desperate need of "a catalyst" for development.
Downtown Nassau Partnership (DNP) Co-chair Charles Klonaris responded to the fact that Chinese state-owned entities are considering major renewal projects in the downtown area.
Guardian Business sources yesterday confirmed that Baha Mar's general contractor, China State Construction and Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), had presented an "impressive" master plan for the redevelopment of Downtown Nassau as a whole. The corporation is also currently a frontrunner to buy the British Colonial Hilton.
Klonaris, himself a major investor in the downtown area, dismissed concerns over foreign influence in the area, stating that the present state of East Bay Street demonstrates the urgency of further development and renovation.
"What I would say to those who oppose potential Chinese development is that they should walk down Bay Street, east of East Street, and you will see a desolate, deprived and abandoned part of our city.
"We need a catalyst to raise the level of our thinking and provide a space for young, educated Bahamians. We need these heavy players to think beyond day-to-day operations of what Nassau currently is. Right now what we see is a reflection of who we are as Bahamians," stated Klonaris.
The proposed foreign involvement in renovating downtown has generated polarized responses from the business community.
Speaking with Guardian Business, Shadow Minister for Finance Peter Turnquest argued that, while further developments for the area were sorely needed, the country needed to promote local investment.
"The development of downtown Nassau is and has been a unique Bahamian experience. Yes, it needs upgrades, and yes, it needs further development in what it offers to the Bahamian public as well as the tourist.
"However, given the right set of incentives and promotion of an encouraging environment, the Bahamian investors and entrepreneurs who are owners and stakeholders in the area will do their part in fulfilling a coordinated vision," stated Turnquest.
Turnquest further claimed that significant foreign direct investment (FDI) in the area would strip the country of control.
"If they do not feel that they do not the resources to make the development happen then that is unfortunate, but...in wholesale allowing foreign entities to own or do all the heavy lifting we give up a certain degree of control," said Turnquest.
Aside from bidding for the British Colonial Hilton, CSCEC has an equity interest in Baha Mar and is widely believed to be a bidder for a contract under the Bahamas Electricity Corporation request for proposal.
However, Klonaris, who is also the owner and developer of the Elizabeth on Bay Marketplace and Marina, claimed that foreign direct investment was often necessary, and dispelled fears over the effect of foreign involvement on the area's cultural heritage.
"I'm not concerned with the vision if it fits in with Nassau's heritage. I honestly think they'll do a better job of preserving our architecture...and taking into account all of the elements of downtown."
The $14 million Elizabeth on Bay plaza, which would stand to benefit from the proposed developments, has faced challenges partly due to its location, argued Klonaris.
"It's challenging. There are a lot of issues that have to be resolved, but I see more demand in terms of rentals for the plaza, and increased traffic down East Street," said Klonaris, adding that foreign development could help realize the area's full commercial potential.
"There's a lot of potential in adding to the city. The only thing I see is something very positive and for those concerned with foreigners [investing] downtown, I don't buy that."

read more »


News Article

February 23, 2013
Bearing Perry Christie

Dear Editor,

In the weeks following the referendum loss for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration under the leadership of Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie, calls have been mounting for Christie to step down as prime minister and leader of the PLP. Interestingly, it seems as if some PLPs have joined the chorus of those calling on the prime minister to leave frontline politics so that the younger generation of PLPs can assume the leadership role of the governing party and indeed the nation.
Not surprisingly, there have also been Free National Movement (FNM) supporters calling on Christie to exit the political stage. Christie is 69 and will be about 73 when the next general election is held in 2017. He was appointed to the senate in 1975 and became a member of Parliament in 1977 for the Farm Road/Centreville constituency - a constituency he has won eight consecutive times. He has now been an MP for an astounding 35 years and has been in frontline politics for nearly four decades.
Perhaps it is safe to say that Christie is one of the longest serving MPs in the history of our Parliamentary system and one of the longest serving active frontline politicians in the Western Hemisphere. For what it's worth, he is by far one of the most resilient politicians that this nation has ever produced. Despite being fired from the Pindling Cabinet in 1984, and despite being virtually kicked out of the PLP for speaking out against alleged wrongdoing by his party, he was able to win his seat in 1987 against a PLP candidate as an independent.
Of course, credit must also be given to the FNM for not running a candidate in that constituency. Had the FNM done so, history would have undoubtedly been different for Christie and for The Bahamas. For one thing, he probably would not have been invited back into the PLP and subsequently the Cabinet in 1990 by Sir Lynden Pindling. As a seatless politician he would have been of very little value to the leadership of the PLP, which at that time was beginning to realize that most Bahamians were becoming unbearably exhausted with the then government, which had been in power for over two decades.
Anyway, him being within the fold of the PLP allowed Sir Lynden to groom him for the leadership role he would eventually assume after Sir Lynden's retirement from frontline politics in 1997. Christie has led the PLP for nearly 16 years and has led that party to two general election victories. He is the second longest serving PLP leader, after Sir Lynden. With The Bahamas facing a myriad of challenges, such as high joblessness, an unacceptably high crime rate, a budget deficit over half-a-billion dollars and a national debt pegged at nearly $5 billion, a failing education system that continues to churn out graduates who can barely read, write, figure and comprehend; a crumbling infrastructure in the utterly neglected Family Islands; a grossly overstaffed and underperforming civil service which consumes well over 60 percent of the government's annual revenue; government corporations such as Bahamasair, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Water and Sewerage Corporation and the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, which continue to leach off the treasury and unreasonable government unions which continue to agitate for more money and more benefits.
The weight of the world is clearly on Christie's shoulders. Christie is now finding out that it is lonely at the top. But he wanted the prime minister's job, and now it is his. He must now deliver. The Bahamian people gave him an overwhelming mandate by giving him 30 of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly. By giving Christie such a huge vote of confidence, the Bahamian people spoke in no uncertain terms that they wanted nothing to do with the FNM. Now some nine months into his current term as prime minister, some PLPs and FNMs are now calling for Christie's head. Should Christie resign as prime minister? My answer to that question is no.
The Bahamian people made their own bed on May 7, 2012 by voting for the PLP and for Christie, so they must lie in it. They knew the kind of leadership Christie brought to the table, because he had already served as prime minister between 2002 and 2007. Bahamians had a resume on Christie. Him stepping down now will make very little difference on the myriad of problems the nation is facing and it would be of no benefit to the FNM. If Christie resigns as prime minister, it goes without saying that he would also resign from the House of Assembly. A by-election would then be held, and we can be absolutely certain that a PLP candidate would win that seat by at least 800 votes. And even if the FNM wins, the PLP would still have an overwhelming majority of the seats in Parliament. The people spoke loud and clear last year that they wanted Christie as their leader, so why now all the chatter for his resignation after nine months?
I say let him remain as prime minister. Bahamians knew exactly what they were doing when they voted PLP. When you vote for a party, you are saying that you want that party's leader to be prime minister. While I don't support Christie's political organization, I do support him as the leader of the nation. What goes on within the PLP is of very little interest to me. The country at this time needs stability at the leadership helm. Him leaving now would only be another major distraction at a time when the nation desperately need focused leadership.

- Kevin Evans

read more »


News Article

September 17, 2014
Miller threatens hotels 'out west'

Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Executive Chairman Leslie Miller yesterday warned the "the three hotels out west" to pay their outstanding electricity bills by the end of the week or face disconnection.
Miller said they collectively owe the corporation more than $30 million.
He said BEC is struggling with a fuel bill that exceeds $100 million.
Miller initially made his comments while a guest on the More FM radio show "Real Talk Live" with Ortland Bodie.
He repeated them in an interview with The Nassau Guardian, but did not specifically name the hotels.
When asked if Baha Mar is among those with delinquent accounts, Miller said, "All of them. All of the hotels out west".
Miller said BEC can no longer allow the hotels to remain delinquent.
"It is imperative that we now try and collect as much as we can from the major hotels in this country," he said.
"They owe us an enormous amount of money that we need to collect.
"Right now, we are in a very, very tight situation with our major [fuel] supplier.
"We owe them in excess of $100 million right now and we've got to come up with about $55 million to enable us to get our next supply of fuel.
"I am asking those major hotels, they know who they are, to assist us in getting these funds to enable us to defray the cost for the fuel.
"If not, we are going to be in serious trouble. We do not want to revert to getting funding, but we are in a tight situation right now.
"We are asking all of our customers to assist us as best they can, but the hotels are the ones that have some big money outstanding.
"It is time now that they come and sit with us and give us the checks that are necessary to enable us not to turn them off.
"If not, I think this week, we are not going to have any choice except to send the message that the woman in Bain Town and in the Grove is no different from the hotels.
"In fact, she should be given more preference than the major entities."
In June, The Nassau Guardian revealed that Miller and one of his family-owned businesses collectively owed BEC nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
After that revelation, one of Miller's relatives made a $100,000 cash payment on the account.
Despite his own failure to pay his bill, Miller has repeatedly threatened delinquent commercial consumers.
Miller said the hotel owners and management will run to the prime minister and deputy prime minister to reverse his decision if it comes to that, but BEC has to take action.
He said the corporation was drafting letters, requesting that the hotels meet with BEC officials and come to terms.
He said those letters were expected to be sent out yesterday.
"If we do not get a response, we will make a decision to terminate their services until they come in a deal with us," Miller said.
"I realize they are going to run to the government, the prime minister and the deputy prime minister, but I see them really as being no different from ordinary Bahamians, who are catching eternal hell in this country."
He said he understands some hotels are experiencing financial challenges.
But he insisted that those hotels must pay something and arrange a payment plan.
When contacted for comment, Robert "Sandy" Sands, senior vice president, administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, said the hotel does not discuss its internal affairs.
Pressed on whether Baha Mar has outstanding arrears with the corporation, Sands declined to comment.
Calls placed to officials at Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort and SuperClubs Breezes were not returned up to press time.
It is unclear whether these hotels are among those that have significant arrears.
When pressed for specifics on the matter, Miller said, "All the hotels in this country owe us money, except for Atlantis.
"Atlantis is our best payer. Atlantis pays us in excess of $5 million per month, and I thank God for Atlantis," he said.
"They are the type of corporate citizen that is wanted and needed in this country. So is Rupert Roberts (Super Value owner).
"But the [other] hotels have become delinquent to the point where it is hurting the financial capability of BEC.
"When it gets to that point, you either sit with us, work it out and give us a check, or we will terminate the service."
Miller said BEC has no intention of requesting any funds from the government when it can collect on the more than $185 million in accounts receivables.
Miller has previously threatened to disconnect major hotels and large commercial consumers over their arrears.
It is unclear whether his latest threat will lead to disconnections.
Miller's renewed threat came a day after he announced the corporation is in the process of purchasing six new generators.
He did not say how much the generators will cost.
BEC has been plagued with a series of failed generators, forcing it to load shed this summer.

read more »


News Article

September 16, 2014
Unions unhappy at lack of transparency over future of BEC

THE unions representing workers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation criticised the "lack of transparency" in the reform of the corporation and explained in a letter sent to Prime Minister Perry Christie that they have more questions than answers after a recent meeting with the KPMG advisors on the matter.

read more »


News Article

January 21, 2014
BTC shares may be up for grabs

Prime Minister Perry Christie has indicated that he is minded to offer shares in the Bahamas Telecommunications Company to the general public and added that the government has no interest in having managerial control of BTC.
"The way of the future really is that we have to, like the Bank of The Bahamas, involve more Bahamians in the ownership of these entities, and so from my point of view, without prejudging the government, the answer is yes to that question," said Christie when asked if he would ever offer shares in BTC to Bahamians.
Upon coming to office in 2012, Christie announced that his administration was shelving the Ingraham government's plan to offer nine percent of BTC shares to Bahamians.
While Christie indicated in a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian that the government would likely eventually sell shares, he made it clear that the focus at this time is concluding the deal with Cable & Wireless Communications for majority control of BTC.
The Cabinet will today discuss the final details of the deal, according to the prime minister, who again expressed optimism in the outcome of the effort.
Christie said it was never his intention for the government to have managerial control of BTC.
"The reason why I have put the airport under management is because I accept the efficiencies that private managers bring, and so I want Bahamasair, I want BEC, I want the water corporation, I want to be able to infuse private management into some of these because we're losing money and I want to be able to broaden ownership and the risk and the responsibility," he said.
"So no. From my purposes, that was never an issue when we were talking about owning 51 percent and intending to sell in our first term. We always knew that it would be private management that would be the order of the day.
The prime minister said from his point of view, the deal to acquire a majority interest in BTC is "complete". But he said, "When we announce this, I want to do it knowing that the government has agreed."
Christie added, "From the point of view of the government of The Bahamas, the government of The Bahamas must actually see the dots and the crossed Ts -- in other words, the literal agreement or memorandum of understanding itself.
"From my point of view, from the point of view of the committee I have appointed, we have completed that. I think the country will have a very interesting set of propositions that will be put to them.
"And to those people who told me don't waste my time, they will have, I think, a surprising outcome to this whole affair."
BEC
Christie also told The Nassau Guardian that the deal to restructure the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is "nearing its final stages".
KPMG is one of the government's advisors for the breakup of BEC and was expected to make recommendations to the government about the preferred bidders that propose to take over the corporation's management and power generation.
The company also advised the Ingraham administration before it sold BTC to Cable & Wireless Communications.
Asked why his administration, which was highly critical of the BTC deal, decided to use KPMG as its advisor for the BEC deal, Christie said, "I thought in the process they would be the best of the people available to us to take this deal to the conclusion we would like to see.
"The Ministry of Finance was using them on other matters, like for example, the Ministry of Finance had used them to examine subsidies to hotels and the tourism industry, and so it was a natural fit for us we thought since they had been through the learning experience of BTC, for us to use them for BEC, and it has proven to be so."

read more »


News Article

October 27, 2011
PLP says, The disjointed and disastrous mismanagement of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation continues

Nassau, Bahamas - Enclosed is a Press Statement by

The Progressive Liberal Party

.

BEC's Chairman Michael Moss as reported in the Nassau Guardian on July
26th 2011 said "customers of the Corporation can expect to get a break
in their Bills beginning October 2011".

Earl Deveaux, the Minister with the responsibility for BEC, as reported
in the Nassau Guardian on October 7th 2011, publicly disclosed that
"consumers can now expect cheaper power bills"...

read more »


News Article

November 02, 2011
Speakers provide sneak peak ahead of forum

High-profile speakers are gearing up to deliver unique energy solutions this coming weekend, with the Energy Efficiency Forum and Exhibition in Nassau promising to bring together more than 20 presenters and an equal number of exhibitions.
Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTEC) is perhaps one of the more well-known U.S. companies attending the forum.
Over the last couple of months, Guardian Business has reported two landmark deals for OTEC - the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Bahamas Electricity Corporation, and a partnership with Baha Mar to deliver the mega-project's air conditioning.
Jeremy Feakins, the CEO of OTEC, will be sending the company's head engineer, Dr Stephen Oney, to Nassau to discuss what it can offer hotels and business in The Bahamas.
"We will be discussing sea water district cooling, how it is both environmentally friend and saves money," he explained.
"Were invited to discuss the concept.  It uses up to 90 percent less electricity than conventional sources.  Given a lot of hotels are close to the beach, there may be opportunities for some of these establishments to use it."
In line with OTEC's expansion plans, Feakins told Guardian Business that Oney is arriving in Nassau with an eye for more opportunities.
He pointed out that OTEC's plans to release its first initial public offering (IPO) in the new year is intended to raise capital to support it's global expansion.  The funding for its current projects, he said, has already been established.
Another presenter at the conference is James Malcolm, the marketing director for Lindroth Development Company.
As the face of Schooner Bay, the rising multi-million-dollar community in Abaco, his presentation will address innovative ways to use the natural environment to achieve profitable and successful development.
Yesterday, Guardian Business revealed a new report detailing Schooner Bay's $332.8 million savings through its "ecological dividend", as coined by the top developer on the project, Orjan Lindroth.
The thrust of Malcolm's talk will be how to build in The Bahamas "without destroying the environment".
"They asked me to speak about green building technologies," he said.
"You can speak about it all day without scratching the surface. But basically I'll be talking about how to use ecology as it relates to development. I will highlight the importance of bringing in green techniques right at the beginning, at the planning and design stage."
Drawing on the Schooner Bay project as an example, Malcolm will review the history of the development and where it's going.
He will also draw on several intriguing specifics, such as the project's innovative use of geo-thermal air conditioning for homes and businesses. The system, pumping cold salt water from 400 feet underground, goes through a closed loop through houses.
When the water becomes warm, it is sent back underground.
Another new feature at Schooner is the natural cistern created by the development.
As The Bahamas continues to experience a great deal of rain over the past few days, the cistern, Malcolm said, has accumulated 9,000 gallons of rainwater.
The project intends on using this resource for agriculture and landscaping.
Malcolm and Oney will be on hand on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, providing an opportunity for attendees to learn and meet specialists in the energy efficiency and substantiability field.
Nov. 4 will be tailored to business, whereas the next day focuses on residents and businesses.
The event is sponsored by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, the Bahamas Hotel Association and the Bahamas Home & Builders Show.
The Ministry of the Environment, the U.S. Embassy, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Bahamian Contractors Association are all taking part and lending support.

read more »


News Article

October 01, 2010
Letter: BEC's automated answering system

EDITOR, The Tribune.

I SHALL be obliged if you would publish this letter in the event that my "representa" -- Mr Brent Symonette -- is at the UN and not able to reach the BEC Minister.

Dear Brent,

Please forward my invitation, to whichever Minister has responsibility for Bahamas Electricity Corporation and ask him/her to stoop, just for a few moments, to the lowly level of the Bahamian populace who elected him/her, and just try to reach someone at this august public entity. By telephone I mean.

A few moments ago I e-mailed you to advise that the north end of San Souci has been without electricity since the little blow we had on Tuesday evening and it is still out this afternoo ...

read more »


News Article

November 03, 2011
BEC DISMISSES 1M INAGUA FUEL CLAIM AS 'OUT OF WHACK'

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation's (BEC) chairman, Michael Moss, yesterday shot down it owes Morton Salt more than $1 million for fuel supplies to its Inagua generating facilities, stating that the figure was "totally out of whack with reality".

Mr Moss told Tribune Business yesterday: "All I can say is we sell electricity to Morton in Inagua, and Morton provides us with fuel. So, one party owes for electricity provided, and another party from time to time owes the other party for fuel.

"Those figures seem totally out of whack with reality, and is totally out of line with what I would have a ...

read more »


News Article

September 16, 2014
Adelaide oil spill - bound to happen sooner or later

Dear Editor,
When I saw the photos of the thick oil slick that washed up on Adelaide beach last week, I was not surprised in the slightest. The fact of the matter is that one or more of the industrial facilities at Clifton Pier have been leaking oil and other forms of pollution into the land and sea for years.
These spills and leaks have continued unimpeded and have not been properly investigated by the authorities. In my humble opinion, this failure on the part of our officials is not neglect or laziness, but rather the result of a fear that they will trace some or all of these leaks back to their own Bahamas Electricity Corporation plant.
While it is never good to see one of our beautiful Bahamian beaches saturated with toxic black sludge, I am almost happy this happened, as it will hopefully bring focused attention to this decades-old scandal that has been effectively shielded from the public view.
Many Bahamians still fish in Clifton Bay and feed their catch to their families or sell it to local restaurants. Oil pollution is highly toxic and can cause a host of very serious health problems. But as long as the slick continued to drift out to sea, though, there was no smoking gun and no reason to face up to facts.
Now, with the evidence literally washed up on our doorstep, we have a reason to force our government to finally investigate this travesty properly, identify the culprit or culprits and force them to clean up their act.
- A.M. Johnson

read more »


News Article
BEC cutting power to upaid accounts
September 30, 2010
BEC cutting power to upaid accounts

With up to 50 per cent of its client base responsible for racking up $100 million in accounts receivables, the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) has decided to commence mass disconnections across the Bahamas, its executive chairman told Tribune Business yesterday.

Michael Moss said almost $60 million is owed to BEC by residential and private sector clients, while the remaining $40 million worth of arrears is owed by government and public sector agencies.

read more »


News Article

March 31, 2011
BEC 'will be privatised'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) "will in the medium to long run be privatised", joining its Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) counterpart, a consultant's report recommending that competition be introduced into the Bahamian power sector through Independent Power Producers (IPPs) supplying a mix of renewable and conventional energies.

A report on strengthening the Bahamian energy sector, produced by German consultants Fichtner, suggested that competition be created by separating electricity production from its transmission and distribution to end-consumers, given that the latter was likely to be a 'natural monopoly' ...

read more »


News Article

March 25, 2013
Island-wide power outage

THE BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation experienced a power outage affecting the entire island of New Providence this afternoon, according to the untilty's public relations officer Arnette Ingraham.

read more »


News Article

September 04, 2014
Govt entering into BEC 'final negotiations'

The government is now entering into "final negotiations" with a shortlist of bidders in the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) overhaul process, as it was announced that it will no longer split the corporation into two entities, but will create one new company which will be owned by BEC.
The announcement, by KPMG (Bahamas), which is overseeing the BEC request for proposal (RFP) that was initiated last August, represents a shift in the earlier announced plans for the corporation.
A November 2014 deadline has now been set for concluding the overhaul of BEC, the company added.
KPMG (Bahamas) also revealed that it is now expected that the government will be able to deal with BEC's $450 million "legacy debt" via the issuance of so-called "rate reduction bonds". These bonds involve the securitization of a cash flow stream generated by a fee charged to utility consumers.
KPMG said: "It is intended that a new company, wholly owned by BEC, with two distinct divisions for transmission and distribution and generation, will be formed to take on BEC's current operations and assets. It is envisaged that the separation of generation will take place at a later date, as new generation equipment is installed, and new renewable energy independent power producers are procured."
The statement added: "Over the last several months, the government has been pursuing the refinancing of BEC's entire 'legacy debt' [as well as required funding for restructuring, environmental remediation, pension deficit replenishment, short-term capital requirements and working capital] through a 'rate reduction bond'. Based on very strong and credible investment bank indications it is expected this 'legacy debt' can be refinanced via bonds issued on the capital markets."
The release does not make clear who will make the final decision on which entities get to take over BEC's generation responsibilities: whether it will be the government during the RFP process or whichever company is chosen to manage the new company.
The release came as Guardian Business learnt that the government has yet to select a "preferred bidder" in the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's request for proposal process, but has narrowed the field to four in a move which has excluded a U.S. bidder whom the U.S. government had vigorously supported, Guardian Business understands.
At the same time, China State Construction and Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) is among the four remaining bidders, however Guardian Business has been informed that the government is sensitive to the potential risks - both in terms of its relationship with the U.S. and otherwise - of handing the nation's control of its power generation to a foreign state-owned entity.
Not among the four, this newspaper understands, is Caribbean Power Partners (CPP), which is part of the Bahamas Generation and Utilities Corporation (BGUC) consortium with which the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) recently partnered to produce its energy report made public last week.
The BCCEC had been supportive of the type of cost savings, economic growth and employment implications that U.K. consultants Oxford Economics found would flow from BGUC's proposal, which included potentially installing a natural gas pipeline from the U.S. to power a natural gas power plant in New Providence.
CPP had received enthusiastic support from the U.S. government. In a June 27, 2014 letter to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis, the U.S. Department of Commerce drew Davis' attention to the bids of CPP and PowerSecure, calling them companies with "years of experience in the realm of power generation and distribution (which) bring to the table cutting-edge proposals to meet today's energy needs".
Penny Pritzker, an official who signed the letter, said that she would welcome an opportunity to discuss the matter with the government. Meanwhile, John Dinkelman, then charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, also supported the company as the "superior choice" for the government in the BEC reform process in a September 27, 2013 letter.
As such, it is anticipated that the U.S. Embassy in Nassau may again take a close interest in the government's alleged decision to exclude the company.
With reference to the four entities remaining in the process, CSCEC is also Baha Mar's general contractor and the recently revealed likely buyer of the British Colonial Hilton in Downtown Nassau. It is believed that the other three entities may include U.S. company PowerSecure International; InterEnergy, headquartered in the Cayman Islands, and Malaysia-based Genting, the developer behind the Resorts World Bimini project.
As to the types of contracts sought by the companies under the RFP - which may involve taking over BEC's generation or transmissions and distribution responsibilities - a source close to the process told Guardian Business that "there is no alignment made with any firm for any particular component as yet". This also indicates that there may yet be some way to go in tying up the process.
Guardian Business understands that among the considerations for the government in choosing who to move ahead with in the process may have been the fact that Fluor Corporation exited the BGUC consortium as an equity partner earlier in the spring, and chose to remain as the entity that would construct the BGUC's power plant. Fluor Corp. is a major Fortune 500 global engineering and construction firm.
In its statement released yesterday evening, KPMG said: "During this final phase, the government will be negotiating with the remaining bidders on the following: Agreement on transitioning arrangements from BEC to the new entity; the scope of the management agreement as relates to ongoing operations, including the immediate refurbishment and optimization of existing assets, finalizing the strategy for implementing new dual fuel equipment (capable of running on natural gas and fuel oil) and related fuel receiving facilities; securing fuel supply agreements and finalizing financing for new equipment, and management fee structure discussions, with incentives relating to cost reduction and efficiencies, reliability and other key performance indicators."
It added that the government also intends to continue advancing the Residential Energy Self Generation program; finalize the drafting of amended legislation and regulations for the energy sector, and proceed with advancing renewable energy integration in the Family Islands, through an independent power producer framework, as envisaged in the RFP."
Davis could not be reached for comment yesterday, as he was out of the country. Calls to KPMG (Bahamas), which is overseeing the RFP process, went unreturned up to press time.
The BCCEC has criticized the government over the amount of time it has taken to reach a decision on the way forward for BEC, given the deteriorating state of the corporation's ability to meet the country's power demands and the continued high cost of power for consumers.

read more »


News Article

March 16, 2013
BEC payment plan abused, says chairman

About half of Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) customers who signed up for the former administration's electricity reconnection and payment plan program ahead of the 2012 general election did not need to utilize it to the extent they did, and have ultimately had a negative impact on the power provider's bottom line, according to BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller.
Miller said the program, which was intended to provide relief and generate revenue from delinquent and returning customers, had the opposite effect because many households who could afford their bills, spread their payments out over the full length of the program.
More than 5,000 households that were without electricity had their supply restored after registering for the up to three-year plan which was launched on February 9 last year. Reconnection fees were also waived to the tune of $80,000.
"Persons in the upper income bracket latched onto that provision that the government offered and decided that, 'If I have a bill of $3,000 I will pay my bill over a three-year period'," Miller told reporters on Thursday.
"Now it was really intended for the less fortunate among us and those who really couldn't afford [it] - those mothers, who are out there struggling with their children, who work in the hotel, and who really could afford the added cost of electricity - it was meant for them.
"However, because it was straight across the board, all Bahamians took advantage of it to the detriment of BEC."
Miller added: "It was wide open, so the fellow who lives in Winton, the fellow who lives out West Bay Street, those who live in these gated communities...benefitted from it more probably than the small man did because he decided, 'If I have a bill of $5,000, what the hell? I'll just let it run over 36-months.' And that had a serious impact on BEC's cash flow."
Miller said management is in the process of restructuring that program, shifting those who can afford to pay more on a more "restricted program".
"Certainly someone in a high economic bracket should not get 36 months to pay, say a $10,000 bill or a $24,000 bill for that bracket," he said.
"...Those less fortunate may still go on the three-year plan or that may be really reconfigured for a 24-month period.
"Those who can afford to pay will probably go on a 12- to 18-month [payment] period to enable them to pay their bills at BEC."
Miller said BEC's receivables are in excess of $40 million.

read more »


News Article

March 30, 2011
Pay cuts for BEC managers

The salaries of more than 100 middle mangers at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) were cut on Monday for their participation in three days of sick-out between February and March. Bahamas Electrical Utility Managerial Union (BEUMU) President Ervin Dean said yesterday that the union has already written a letter to BEC’s General Manager Kevin Basden requesting that the money be refunded immediately.
“BEC cut our pay for three days for which we called in sick for a day in February and two days in March,” he said.
“The problem we have with that is that BEC owes us about $3 million for our industrial agreement, which has [been] expired for more than th ...

read more »


News Article

September 18, 2014
BEC unions still seeking role in reform process

As the government enters into "financial negotiations" with a shortlist of bidders in the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) restructuring, the presidents of the corporation's unions have again decried the "lack of transparency" involved in the process.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Perry Christie, Bahamas Electrical Workers Union (BEWU) President Paul Maynard and Bahamas Electrical Utilities Managerial Union (BEUMU) President Clinton Minnis lamented the unions' lack of participation in the process.
"Again, we repeat that we are an integral part to this process and its eventual success now and in the future," the letter said.
The unions said they had a meeting with government advisors KPMG (Bahamas) and a financial advisor.
Though they did not say when the meeting took place, they said, "Sadly, we left this meeting with more concerns, uncertainty and less clarity of the process than before."
The letter, dated September 12, was copied to Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Chairman Robert Myers and Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson.
Last August, Christie revealed the government's plans to engage private companies to offer power generation for BEC and gain a management contract to take over transmission, distribution and customer billing.
At the time, the government proposed a timeline for reform, which would see private companies launch their operations by May 2014.
Two weeks ago, KPMG (Bahamas), which is overseeing the process, announced the government will no longer split the corporation into two entities, but will create one new company, which will be owned by BEC.
KPMG also said the deadline to conclude the deal is November.
However, it remains unclear whether the government has selected a preferred bidder.
The BCCEC, the official opposition and the Democratic National Alliance have also criticized the government over what they have called a lack of transparency and repeated delays.
The union leaders requested that the prime minister respond to 10 separate points raised regarding the request for proposals (RFP) process.

Among these, were requests for all proposals submitted by the bidders and the relevant technical and pricing submissions to provided.
The union leaders also requested that the government provide the preliminary and final evaluation of those bids, matters relating to staffing plans and the need for work permits, and plans related to the legacy debt and its effect on the final cost of electricity.
"Once union leaders have received complete responses to the above and are comfortable that they can inform members that they are satisfied that the evaluation and selection process was fair and transparent, the selection of the preferred bidder/bidders can be concluded," the letter said.
"However, we are confident that the minister of works and urban development (Davis) will arrange information related to the RFP bid evaluation process to be shared with the union leaders to enable them to give a favorable report to union members.
"Finally, we wish to repeat that we fully support you, and the deputy prime minister in this process, as long as we feel satisfied that the eventual privatization of BEC and the attendant benefits that will accrue to all employees and the Bahamian people."
The government has yet to officially announce the companies involved, although it has confirmed that China State Construction and Engineering Corporation is among the bidders.

read more »


News Article

June 30, 2014
Silent treatment

There is a kind of madness taking grip in this country on certain matters relative to governance, the functioning of our institutions and the things we as Bahamians are asked to accept.
Nowhere has this been more on display in recent weeks than in the developments that flowed after The Nassau Guardian disclosed that Executive Chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Leslie Miller and his family-owned business owed the corporation $250,000.
Miller, of course, is not the only person who owes the corporation. There are also many businesses that owe substantial sums, we are told.
We revisit this matter this week because it is no doubt Miller's hope and that of the government that it will go away.
But it remains a matter deserving of attention.
Prime Minister Perry Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis, who has ministerial responsibility for BEC, continue to remain silent after confirmation from BEC that its policy was violated when cashiers accepted a cash payment of more than $10,000 on the bill.
BEC's policy is that no cash payments are to be accepted over that amount.
Sources within the corporation confirmed that $100,000 was paid in cash.
This has not been denied by Miller or any government official.
Asked to confirm whether the payment was made in cash, the deputy prime minister told us, "I don't know how it was paid. I just know $100,000 was paid."
When we raised this matter again with Miller last week Sunday, he was annoyed that we were still pushing the point.
In a stunning statement to The Tribune, Miller said, "money is money".
The newspaper said Miller informed that he was also unaware of BEC's policy not to accept more than $10,000 cash because many "businesses have done it before".
"Money is money," he reportedly told The Tribune. "I didn't know what the policy was. If they came to my business and gave me money, paid me in cash, I would thank them again and again.
"Institutions in this country have done this before. These are petty things (that are) causing the Bahamian people to be sidetracked from what is really happening at the corporation and all the good that is being done.
"The people that are attacking me and my family are nameless, but I have a name and they are coming for me. I do not need them to like me, my record speaks for itself."
What Miller does not understand is questions relating to that $100,000 are legitimate questions.
This does not represent an attack on him or his family.
The implications of this matter being swept under the rug may be great.
It is not accepted business practice to deal in large sums of money, hence the BEC policy.
The chairman's statement that he did not know what the policy is, is startling.
The prime minister and the deputy prime minister should not accept this as an explanation.
And we the people should not accept the deputy prime minister's statement that he does not know how the money was paid.
It is the chairman's obligation to know the corporation's policies, and it is the DPM's obligation to look into the matter of this payment.
If we say we are serious about protecting the reputation of our jurisdiction, then we must at all times adhere to the highest international standards as they relate to financial transactions.
The world is watching. What signal is the government sending to the international community?
To be clear, we make no suggestions on the source of the $100,000 paid to BEC.
But we do question our disregard for standards relating to the handling of large sums of money.
This is not a petty matter.
We expected Leslie Miller to react in the manner in which he acted.
Miller is a well-liked politician who has endeared himself to the common man.
But he has attracted controversy during his years in public life and has created one embarrassing situation after the next for Christie.
At the start of the first Christie administration, Miller, who was then a minister, fueled a firestorm over firings at the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC).
He was later caught up in multiple other controversies.
We are reminded of a statement an American diplomat attributed to Prime Minister Christie in 2005.
"Some ministers, were brought into the Cabinet because of their qualifications; others, like Minister Miller, were included in an effort, at times unsuccessful, to keep an eye on what they're doing," Christie allegedly said.
We wonder now whether Christie, by his silence, is seeking to avoid a fall-out with Miller over that $100,000 cash payment, and the fact that the chairman owed the corporation so much money while demanding other businesses stay current.
We raise this issue again this week to say again that our general lack of adherence to standards and the prime minister and deputy prime minister's silence are appalling.

read more »


News Article

November 10, 2011
BEC STILL EYEING 5M 2011 PROFIT

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE BAHAMAS Electricity Corporation (BEC) should make around $5 million in net income for its just-closed 2011 financial year, its chairman yesterday saying the improvement on the less than-$1 million yield in 2010 showed it was headed towards recovery.

"I expect there to be a slight improvement in profitability over what we saw last year. I expect a profit to the order of $5 million," Michael Moss said.

"I don't have numbers yet to see if it's going to be in line with that expectation, but certainly I expect it to be more than $1 million. The road to recovery has started."

Mr Moss added: ...

read more »


News Article

January 20, 2014
The march to Majority Rule, Part III

History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future. - Robert Penn Warren
As we noted in parts I and II of this series, the march to Majority Rule in The Bahamas can be characterized by two words: sustained struggle.
On January 10, we quietly celebrated the first public holiday to commemorate the day that Majority Rule came to The Bahamas in 1967. It was a life-changing event that catapulted the lives of many thousands to unimaginable heights. Last week we reviewed three important milestones in the march to Majority Rule that helped to create the framework for the attainment of that achievement: the by-election of 1938, the Burma Road Riot of 1942, and the Contract beginning in 1943. This week and in the final week in January, we will continue to Consider This...what were some of the major milestones that contributed to the centuries-long march to Majority Rule?
The 1950s were decisively transformative on the march to Majority Rule. It was a decade that witnessed the formation of the PLP in 1953, the 1956 Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the House of Assembly and the 1958 General Strike.
The formation of the PLP
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was established in 1953, following an attempt by the Citizens' Committee to actively address some of the rampant discriminatory practices by the white Nassau elite. The Citizens' Committee, formed in December 1950 initially protested the government's refusal to let Bahamians view three films: "No Way Out" (starring Bahamian actor Sidney Poitier), "Lost Boundaries" and "Pinky" all of which addressed societal injustices. Many of the members of the Citizens' Committee, which was led by Maxwell Thompson, Cleveland Eneas, and A. E. Hutchinson and whose members included Jackson Burnside, Randol Fawkes, Gerald Cash, Kendal Isaacs, Marcus Bethel and other prominent personalities, suffered brutal discrimination and many of its members were deprived of the ability to earn a living by the Bay Street oligarchy as a result of their social activism.
In October, 1953 the PLP was formed by Henry Taylor (who would become the third Bahamian governor general in an Independent Bahamas from June 26, 1988 to January 1, 1992), William Cartwright and Cyril Stevenson with a platform that responded to the challenge by Rev. H. H. Brown that: "The Progressive Liberal Party hopes to show that your big man and your little man, your black, brown and white man of all classes, creed and religions in this country can combine and work together in supplying sound and successful political leadership which has been lacking in The Bahamas."
The PLP made bold progressive promises for a more equitable social structure including equal opportunities for all Bahamians, better education, universal suffrage, stronger immigration policies, lower-cost housing and the development of agriculture and the Out Islands.
In the early days of the PLP, its members were subjected to abject ostracism and victimization by the white elite, including the loss of jobs and bank credit, as well as canceled contracts. In 1955, Lynden Pindling and Milo Butler emerged as the leaders of the party, appealing to the black masses to mobilize in advance of the general elections of 1956. The party also attracted Randol Fawkes, the founder of the Bahamas Federation of Labour in May 1955.
The general election of May 1956 was the first to be fought by an organized political party. The PLP won six seats in the House of Assembly, four in Nassau and two in Andros. That election significantly accelerated the march to Majority Rule. In March 1958 the white oligarchy formed themselves into the second organized political unit, the United Bahamian Party (UBP). The UBP would later disband and its members would join forces with the Free National Movement (FNM) in 1972.
The 1956 Resolution on Racial Discrimination in the House of Assembly
In the wake of rampant racial discrimination that prevented access for black people to hotels, movie theatres, restaurants, and other public places, H. M. Taylor, the chairman of the PLP, whose platform vowed to eliminate racial discrimination in the colony, tabled a number of questions to the leader of the government.
Moved by this and in light of his own disgust with racially motivated practices, in January 1956, Etienne Dupuch, the editor of the Nassau Tribune and a member of the House of Assembly for the eastern district, tabled an Anti-Discrimination Resolution in the House of Assembly. During his passionately eloquent speech on the resolution, the speaker of the House of Assembly ordered Dupuch to take his seat, threatening, if he refused to do so, that he would be removed from the chamber by the police. Dupuch responded: "You may call the whole Police Force, you may call the whole British Army...I will go to [jail] tonight, but I refuse to sit down, and I am ready to resign and go back to the people." The speaker abruptly suspended the House proceedings.
Although the resolution was supported by H. M. Taylor, Bert Cambridge, Eugene Dupuch, C.R. Walker, Marcus Bethel, and Gerald Cash, it was referred to a select committee, effectively killing it. However, the following day, most of the Nassau hotels informed the public that they would open their doors to all, regardless of their race.
The 1958 General Strike
The General Strike began in January 1958 after several months of tension that arose because of the government's plans to allow hotels and tour buses that were owned by the established white tour operators to provide transport for visitors to and from the airport, at the expense of predominantly black taxi drivers who made a large portion of their living transporting tourists between the new Windsor Field (Nassau International) Airport and downtown hotels. To allow the hotels and tour companies to supplant the taxi drivers would severely curtail the ability of black taxi drivers to earn a decent living.
The government learned that the taxi drivers would vehemently protest this arrangement when they blockaded the new airport on the day it opened. On that day, nearly 200 union taxi drivers stopped all business at the airport for 36 hours, showing their determination to protest the government's plans. Negotiations on 20 points ensued between the union, represented by Lynden Pindling and Clifford Darling, the union's president, and the government for the following eight weeks, but broke off after they could not agree on one final point.
On January 11, 1958 the taxi union voted for a general strike and the next day the General Strike commenced with the cessation of work at hotels, which was supported by hotel and construction workers, garbage collectors, bakers, airport porters and employees of the electricity corporation. The strike lasted until January 31 and prompted a visit to the colony by the secretary of state for the colonies who recommended constitutional and political and electoral reforms which were incorporated into the General Election Act of 1959. Following the General Strike, male suffrage was introduced for all males over 21 years of age and the company vote was abolished.
Undoubtedly, the General Strike accentuated the ability of effective reform that could be achieved by the peaceful mobilization of the black majority.
Conclusion
Next week, we will review the decade of the 1960s and discuss how the Women's Suffrage Movement, the 1962 general elections and Black Tuesday culminated in the eventual attainment of Majority Rule with the general elections of 1967.

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

read more »


News Article

March 27, 2013
13.8M plaza rises in Abaco

A new $13.8 million shopping plaza just outside of Marsh Harbour has created around 75 construction jobs and promises to generate many more by its opening in November.
The Central Pines Shopping Centre & Business Complex, owned by the Teachers and Salaried Workers Co-operative Credit Union Limited, is now leasing out up to 20 spaces in the facility. The 50,000-square-foot plaza consists of five interconnected buildings, a stand-alone bank and an office complex.
Ashley Glinton, the president of Woslee Construction, said the Central Pines area is growing rapidly and should be a center of robust economic development in the coming years.
"Abaco is growing very fast and I think this will certainly help the community grow. We just finished the government complex right near by," he told Guardian Business. "We are up to around 75 workers and I can say they are nearly 100 percent from Abaco."
Glinton added that Woslee is placing the roof on the complex and it's on schedule for the November opening. It is the largest project for Woslee on the island.
Anthony Rolle, the building manager at Central Pines, told Guardian Business yesterday that the search is on for tenants.
The complex will include a supermarket, movie theater, pharmacy, dental office, doctor's office, shoe store, clothing stores, fast food restaurants, liquor store and outlets for paying bills from Bahamas Electricity Corporation, Water and Sewerage or Cable Bahamas.
"We have a list of names, and if they all come through then we will be fully rented. I will be looking at taking deposits to ensure their commitment going forward," according to Rolle.
The building manager agreed that the new plaza is well positioned to take advantage of community growth. In addition to the government complex, he said that a high school and primary schools are also "not too far away".
He said the township is only a two- or three-minute drive from Marsh Harbour proper.
While Rolle was reluctant to assign any specific employment figures to the development, space for at least twenty businesses, including a supermarket, could easily equate to well over 100 jobs.
"It really depends on the tenants and how many employees they would hire. We are seeking three major anchors - a food store, fast-food restaurant and hardware store," he explained.
Marsh Harbour has been the source of increasing investment in recent years. The new Leonard M. Thompson International Airport has been under construction for several years after the original contract was signed under the previous administration.
Since then, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has expressed concern on the length of the runway and the quality of construction. The new international airport is reputedly due to have a grand opening, however, sometime this summer.
The government recently stated that Marsh Harbour is the third busiest travel hub in the country.
Guardian Business understands a new hospital is also under construction and should open in 2014.

read more »


News Article

November 02, 2011
Neymour: BEC challenged by increase in customers

One of the challenges that the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is facing this year is an increase of customers, said Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour yesterday.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, Neymour explained that although BEC has benefited from nearly 3,000 additional customers being serviced this year, the demand has increased the need for additional diesel fuel, which has increased costs.
According to Neymour, BEC has 106,000 customers.
He said that, "as a result of [this] we have a three cent increase (per kilowatt hour) in the fuel charge.  There is no longer a fuel surcharge."
Neymour said in the middle of October that he did not anticipate a reduction in fuel charges due to the high price of oil at the time, despite BEC projecting a reduction weeks earlier.
On Monday, BEC Chairman Michael Moss said that customers can expect their fuel charge to increase for the month of November due to increases in oil costs.
Moss said customers can expect to pay about $0.26 per kilowatt hour for electricity consumed in November, which is a $0.03 increase over last month's fuel charge of about $0.23.
BEC officials expected a decrease in electricity bills due to an expected drop in fuel prices as has historically been the case around this time, and because of an increase in production at the Clifton Pier plant, Moss explained Monday.
However, while there has been increased production at the plant, fuel prices have increased.
Neymour said yesterday that, "Many customers would recognize as they go to the service stations that they would have seen a decrease in gasoline, but the price of the lower fuel products like diesel and heavy fuel oil have increased based upon international costs."
He pointed out that over the summer BEC had consumed considerable amounts of heavy fuel oil and diesel oil, which cost the corporation more.
"If one were to compare the prices this year versus last year, the cost of the heavy fuel oil has increased 50 percent, which is significant," he said, adding that, "fuel bills today are 50 percent more than last year but they are in fact 10 percent less than they were in 2008."
When asked if this increase will result in disconnections for many customers, Neymour said that may not happen.
"Because it's cooler now, customers are using less air conditioning so their consumption is expected to decrease," he said.

read more »


News Article

November 09, 2011
Roberts hits out at Moss and FNM over BEC

Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Bradley Roberts said yesterday the claim that the PLP mismanaged the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is nothing but propaganda.
Roberts said it is the Free National Movement (FNM) government that is mismanaging BEC.
On Monday, Chairman of BEC Michael Moss said in a statement that the PLP mismanaged the corporation during the years it was in office.  He provided a summary of a 2006 financial report which showed BEC's finances were troubled.
Moss said that he was responding to repeated claims by Roberts that the corporation's finances were sound under the Christie administration.
Roberts said Earl Deveaux and Phenton Neymour (the ministers with responsibility for BEC) "were both sound asleep at the wheel during the record oil price crisis" when oil was at $147 per barrel, and allowed the corporation to fully absorb customs duty and stamp tax on BEC oil imports which the corporation was unable to bear as a result of the sharp spike in oil."
He said this is the major reason BEC finds itself "with one foot on the banana peel and the other in the proverbial grave."
Roberts said, "After realizing the seriousness of their folly, the Free National Movement set out on a plan to lay the blame of the serious damage caused by their own failure to pass on the cost of the sharp increase in oil prices, with the shameless bogus claim that the reduction in rates in 2003 was the reason."
Roberts said that in 2003 both the FNM and PLP were on one accord regarding the rate reductions at BEC.
He said the FNM government engaged a number of consultants to justify blaming the 2003 rate reduction for BEC's financial woes.
"These reports and the associated cost were never tabled in the House of Assembly despite repeated requests by the Official Opposition," he said.
But Moss gave other reasons for BEC's troubles.
He said, "The ill-advised and ill-conceived rate reduction imposed on BEC under the watch of the PLP chairman set BEC squarely onto a progressively deteriorating financial spiral."
Moss said Monday that the rate increase introduced in 2010, that restored BEC's tariff to about the same position it was 18 years ago, has stopped the massive hemorrhaging at BEC.
But Roberts said, "The FNM's record of massive mismanagement of BEC has manifested itself with the constant blackouts during the past three summers resulting in damage to consumers' appliances and equipment.
"As a result of mismanagement, the FNM imposed higher electricity rates on the backs of struggling Bahamians."

read more »


News Article

March 16, 2013
BEC says efforts to contain oil spill ongoing

Over the past 15 years, oil and other substances have seeped into the ocean in part due to discharged material at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's (BEC) Clifton Pier Power Station, according to BEC Assistant General Manager Shevonn Cambridge.
Oil collecting into old disused trenches on the property has resulted in oil spilling into the sea on previous occasions.
"While BEC has spearheaded the efforts [of] maintaining and recovering the product that is out there, it has never really conclusively decided or discovered that it was all sourced from BEC," Cambridge said on Thursday.
"Basically they did some analysis of the product a number of years ago and actually found there were products that were in this product going out to sea that BEC doesn't even store or use."
He said the problem is monitored on a daily basis to immediately act in the event of any oil seeping from the facility to prevent it going out to sea.
The corporation is in discussions with another service provider to install more "permanent measures" to capture and retain any oil product that seeps from BEC's compound.
He said there are three alternatives being considered but none are inexpensive to undertake.
Asked about the environmental impact, Cambridge said several environmental impact studies have been completed and another is ongoing as the issue has come up once again.
He was unable to say how much oil has spilled over that period of time or within the last year.
"We want to establish a new [database] so we can compare that to the progression or reduction from the last set of tests that were done in that area," Cambridge said.
He insisted BEC has implemented an action plan to address the problem over the years, but incremental weather and the compound's structure contribute to the ongoing problem.
Environmentalist Robert Kennedy Jr, who has been outspoken on the issue for some time, told those in attendance at a College of The Bahamas lecture last month that several reefs in the Clifton Pier area have been nearly destroyed by repeated oil spills from BEC's Clifton Pier plant.

read more »


News Article

April 03, 2013
BEC statement on actions of Bahamas Electrical Workers Union

Nassau, Bahamas - In
response to the withdrawal of labor of the members of The Bahamas
Electrical Workers Union (BEWU), The Bahamas Electricity Corporation
advises its customers in New Providence and the Family Islands that it
has contingency measures in place to ensure that any action on the part
of the union does not severely impact the Corporation's operations.

BEC
further informs the public that the action of the junior employees of
the Corporation is illegal and; therefore, in breach of the industrial
relations agreement and is in direct contravention of the labor laws of
The Bahamas.The Corporation encourages the BEWU that, as with any
employee related matter, to employ all

read more »


News Article

March 28, 2013
Lyford Cay 'likely' to support coalition

The Lyford Cay Property Association is "likely" to become a member of the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (CPCB).
As exclusively revealed by Guardian Business in February, the association announced that the government appears "inclined" to grant Peter Nygard a lease of accreted land surrounding his property at Nygard Cay. It now seems that members of the community have taken their opposition to the next level.
"I think it is likely we will become a member. The environmental issues effect Clifton and our community,"said Philip Dunkley, head of Lyford Cay Property Association.
"We have looked at everything they have put together. It seems like something we should support."
Support for the coalition is also forming in other property circles.
Franon Wilson, president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA), said he did not wish to comment specifically on Nygard's case.
However, speaking in general terms, anyone that expands property beyond what was legitimately paid for should be kept in check by both the private and public sector.
"The bottom line is people should go out and inspect. If you go past a certain point and expand beyond your bounders, then that has implications," Wilson told Guardian Business. "There are things you can and can't do. And that is one of the things you can't do."
Back in February, a letter to members of the Lyford Cay Property Association stated that the government "may be inclined to accede to Mr Nygard's application" in the near future.
It went on to note that government indicated it would become more vigilant to prevent any future reclamation of lands.
The issue has been in and out of the courts in recent years.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court on April 6, 2011, Tex Turnquest, then director of the Department of Lands and Surveys, informed Nygard that the government expected him to reinstate the coastline of the property to its condition at the time of the 1984 deed, when he first purchased the western tip of Lyford Cay.
Nygard's attorneys have argued, however, that additional land formed as a result of the gradual and imperceptible deposit of materials from the ocean onto land.
The fashion mogul sought a declaration that the lands have become part of the freehold property.
Recent statements by the Lyford Cay Property Association could indicate that the issue is swinging in Nygard's favor.
The coalition, however, appears ready for a fight.
"You can be sure the coalition will be active," Dunkley added.
Fred Smith, a top attorney with Callenders & Co, has joined forces with the coalition for legal support. The alliance could indicate that the coalition is prepared to fight any ruling on the property.
Dunkley pointed out that the Nygard issue is not the only problem for Clifton Bay. The Bahamas Electricity Corporation has long been criticized for poor environmental standards at one of its main power plants in the area.
From the air, a sheen of oil can reportedly be seen on most days along the coast and heading out to sea.
In a recent trip to The Bahamas, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. threw his support behind the coalition as it relates to the pollution coming out of Clifton Pier and its destruction to the reef system.

read more »


News Article

April 04, 2013
Police called to second day of BEC protests

POLICE were called to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's headquarters yesterday morning after protesting union members barricaded themselves inside the Baillou Hill Road compound, blocking customers from entering.

read more »


News Article

May 17, 2013
Police still unsure what caused fire that led to baby's death

Police still do not know what caused a fire that led to the death of a five-month-old girl on Mother's Day, according to Director of Fire Services Superintendent Walter Evans.
Evans said police are still investigating the tragedy and will not release many details about the case. He also could not say if he expected any charges to be filed in connection to the child's death. When asked if the child was left unattended at the time of the fire or was at home with loved ones, Evans said he would release that information at a later date.
He added that the family is helping police in their investigation.
"We are getting assistance but bear in mind they lost a loved one," he said. "Certainly they are grieving."
Evans said he expected to be able to release more information on the investigation by this afternoon.
The infant was killed in a fire that gutted an apartment building on Exuma Street in The Grove.
Police said the child's uncle tried in vain to rescue her from the flames.
"Due to the intense heat he was unsuccessful in his
attempt and as a result of that he received some injury to his right arm," Evans said on the scene.
When firemen arrived at the scene they met the top of the two-story building on fire. The flames were put out and firefighters found the infant's remains.
Evans said the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) was called in to disconnect the power at the house for the safety of the fire fighters.
Distraught family members crowded the scene opposite the charred apartment.
A relative of the infant identified her as Satiya Cooper.
Her mother, identified as Satanya, was inconsolable at the scene. After speaking with police, she walked to the side of the home with a friend and held her head before breaking down.

read more »


News Article

April 04, 2013
Workers may be jailed if rules broken

UNION chiefs at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation could face fines of up to $10,000 or be jailed for two years if they breach labour rules on industrial action, the Government threatened last night.

read more »


News Article

March 16, 2011
BEC's 10m consultant spend 'not necessary'

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

The Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) is unlikely to need the number of external consultants, upon whom it spent $10 million during its 2008 financial year, it currently hires, with "drastic change" needed to prevent already low employee accountability from "deteriorating further".

A report by the German firm, Fichtner, part of an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded project to overhaul the energy sector in the Bahamas, warned that the lack of rules and policies for BEC employees to follow, coupled with the minimal risk of punishment for indiscipline and other infractions, was undermining the state-owned power monopoly.

N ...

read more »