Tuesday, January 14, 2020
EDITOR, The Tribune
Just under 250 years ago an event took place in Boston Harbour that would forever change the world, and in particular the United States of America and Britain. Ostensibly it was to do with Tea but fundamentally it was to do with Britain’s Tea Act which levied a tax of three pennies per pound on Tea imported to the Colonies. The Colonists revolted saying that since they had no representation in Britain, it was not right for Britain to impose any taxes on the Colonies.
So we might be forgiven for feeling today that without the Bahamian people having any representation on the operations of BEC/BPL, that the Government legislating a tax, to be paid by electricity consumers, is not on. Now, some may argue that the Bahamian people elect the Government and thereby have control of the operations of the electricity company, but fifty plus years of Government supervision has brought this business into bankruptcy. Not one single measure has been put in place to prevent this, or any future government, from managing this business any differently than it has been run over the last fifty-three years. The Tribune is full of very frank reports, many attributed to Minister Bannister himself, on the disgraceful manner in which this State Owned Enterprise has been mismanaged for years. Even today, and I have it on good authority, the Government’s own Ministries don’t pay their electricity bills.
The Tribune of January 8 questioning Shell building and owning the new Clifton Power Plant, Minister Bannister expressed the thought that Bahamians might have an opportunity to own shares in BEC/BPL. The question for Minister Bannister and the Cabinet is why wait till later this year. For every dollar that consumers pay for this rate reduction bond fee, allocate pro-rata a number of shares to each consumer. The goal should be to have a majority of shares owned by Consumers before the next election. And those consumers who contribute the most would have the lion’s share of the equity. If we could ultimately get the Government OUT of BEC/BPL then we would have achieved a major victory. After all, it is The People’s Time.
BRUCE G. RAINE
January 12, 2020