BPL deputy chairman to sue Eyewitness News


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHAMAS Power and Light deputy chairman Stephen Holowesko has refuted media reports that his family’s company funded the purchase of seven new generators. In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Holowesko threatened legal action against the news outlet which aired the claims this week.

He said he will pursue the “defamatory content” that was broadcast to the “fullest capacity” afforded to him by law, saying the contents were “speculative opinion” as opposed to facts.

BPL, in a statement, also indicated that it is mulling over whether it will pursue legal action against the station in question for any damages it suffered as a result of the “false statements” made during the broadcast in question.

In the meantime, BPL demanded a retraction and an apology for the “inaccuracies perpetrated” by the programme, which aired on Monday night.

During a segment of ILTV’s “Beyond the Headlines” earlier this week, it was claimed that seven new generators recently purchased by BPL were funded by the Fortress Group. The show’s host alleged some of Fortress’ principles were Holoweskos and suggested that the prominent family was in an advantageous position, should BPL ever be privatised, to buy the company.

It was also alleged on the programme that the previous board of BPL was let go because they did not give into the pressure Mr Holowesko was exerting on it to enter into a contract with Fortress, among other allegations.

In response, Mr Holowesko said: “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 Alston.

“It is false that my tenure at BPL has any correlation to the Freedom of Information Act (which is not fully enacted).”

He added the “outrageous, insulting, and personally damaging” claims hurt his reputation and that of his family. The media outlet aired an apology on Tuesday night about the report.

Meanwhile in its statement on the matter, BPL also said that the suggestion that the new Wärtsilä engines the company purchased had a price tag of $95m is incorrect. BPL said that the $95m represents the entire cost of the new power plant at Clifton Pier Station A, something that was addressed by BPL Chief Executive Officer Whitney Heastie in February.