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BPL Buildings Renamed To Give Honor

Two former Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) General Managers received honors for their hard work and accomplishments during their time at the Corporation.

At an official unveiling ceremony at the now Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Headquarters on Friday morning, two buildings at the complex revealed the names of retired General Managers, Peter I. Bethel and the late E. Coburn Sands.

Bringing remarks at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer of BPL Pamela Hill hailed the men as giants who took the company to new levels.

“This is an opportunity for us to really take a moment and recognize and thank the shoulders of the giants on whom this stands. We’re here to bring recognition and thankfulness to Mr. Peter I. Bethel and family as well as to Mr. E. Coburn Sands and family.

“I would like to take the opportunity to just pull out a few of the many accomplishments that have occurred; in the case of Mr. Peter Bethel, he began working with the company in 1967 and held a number of positions, including the Electrical Engineer Chief. During his time he directed and ensured that we had reinforcements to our transmission and distribution systems in New Providence and Paradise Island.

“Mr. E. Coburn Sands, under his tenure and leadership Bahamas Electricity Corporation saw many expansions occurred and those who had an opportunity to know him and to work for him knew that he was very much the stickler for well trained staff and saw to it that many of the past and present employees of the company became qualified in the areas of experience,” Ms. Hill said.

Former Chairman of BEC Leslie Miller noted the privilege of working with Mr. Bethel, while also acknowledging the accomplishments of Mr. Sands.

“Let me say it is a privilege for me to stand here before you, as a former chairman of BEC and a former executive chairman of BEC, and let me say how proud I am of what the people of BEC under the leadership of Mr. Coburn Sands as well as Mr. Peter Bethel has brought our country and our people.

“When I first was appointed to Chairman of BEC back in 1989, Mr. Peter Bethel was the general manager, the years that I spent with Mr. Bethel, three years from 1989 to 1991 assisted me in my growth and development as a business person, but more important as a Bahamian, one who I came to respect and admire so much the contribution that he made on behalf of all of us.

“Mr. Sands is another gentleman who led the way for Bahamians of color to run The Bahamas Electricity Corporation and we owe him a great gratitude of respect and indeed he is so respected by all of us,” Mr. Miller said.

In his keynote address, on behalf of the deputy prime minister, Minister of State for Works and Urban Development Arnold Forbes also praised the men for their accomplishments.

“We are now celebrating the naming of the company’s two main buildings in honor of two Bahamian titans, who have both made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the electricity supply in this country.

“E. Coburn Sands and Peter Bethel were Bahamian pioneers, they were among the first Bahamians to learn this phase and what they did with it is they learnt it they came back home and they applied it in their own country,” Mr. Forbes said.

Expressing gratitude for the honor bestowed her father and on behalf of the Sands family, Dania Blake, echoed the sentiments noted by others who spoke of Mr. Sands.

“The greatest legacy that one can pass on to one’s children is not money or material things accumulated in one’s lifetime on the contrary it is a legacy of character and faith.

“Dad was committed to excellence and hard work in all that he did. In the capacity of General Manager our father displayed what my siblings and I have come to describe as servant leadership; he understood that positions of authority but with it a great responsibility hence he looked for opportunities to serve and celebrate others.

“We thank all persons responsible for dedicating this building in honor and memory of our father Elijah Coburn Sands, who selflessly contributed to our community throughout his life,” Mrs. Blake stated.

Mr. Bethel too expressed his gratitude for the honor noting his pleasure in having the opportunity to work for the corporation.

“It is a great honor to have the BPL administration building named after me, and I thank the government and the board of BPL and the former board of BEC for recognizing my service in a very generous way.

“I had a very long and rewarding career with BEC and I consider myself fortunate in having had the opportunity to work for the corporation that provides such a vital service as electricity.

“I am very proud of the progress made by BEC during the careers of Mr. Sands, my predecessor as General Manager and myself.

“In accepting this honor I acknowledge the important part played by the fine staff of BEC and I thank them for their support during my time at BEC,” Mr. Bethel stated.

Mr. Sands was the first Bahamian qualified and certified in Electrical Engineering and the first Bahamian manager of BEC.

Mr. Bethel climbed up the ranks at BEC holding various positions including Chief Electrical Engineer, Director of Planning and Distribution, and Assistant General Manager of Operations before becoming the General Manager.

Also in attendance to witness the unveiling were former Chairman of BEC Michael Moss, Former General Manager Kevin Basden, and Mr. Colin Higgs Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Works and Urban Development.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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