Categorized | National News

Former Minister Wants BEC Probe

A former cabinet minister in the Pindling administration has called on Prime Minister Perry Christie to ensure that an independent investigation is carried out into the Bahamas Electricity Corporation’s (BEC) affairs to determine what’s really to blame for its poor financial state.

Former Minister of Works, Loftus Roker wants the prime minister to appoint an independent body to investigate BEC just as he did with the National Insurance Board (NIB).

Mr. Roker, who served as minister of works from 1975 to 1984, said that he left both BEC and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) – then known as BaTelCo – in a state where they could more than financially sustain themselves.

He added that the global cost of fuel is not the real reason why electricity bills are so high and said the findings of an audit would support his claim.

“Something is seriously wrong with BEC. The prime minister needs to carry out this investigation so that the Bahamian people, who own BEC, would know what is going on,” he said.

“If the nation’s leader were to carry out this investigation then I’m certain that he would be shocked as to the findings.”

Late last year, BEC Executive Chairman Leslie Miller announced that the payroll as well as the high cost of fuel in the global market led to electricity bills being so high.

Since then, Mr. Miller has been heavily criticised for the strict measures he has put in place.

Mr. Roker described the executive management team of BEC as “weak” saying, “If they weren’t so weak then perhaps the company wouldn’t be in the situation [it is] in.”

When asked if he thinks that Mr. Miller’s way of running BEC is the best way, he refused to comment saying, “I don’t know. I’m not getting into that.”

The former cabinet minister recalled the days when he once served as both minister of works and minister of health.

“I had to ensure that everything ran smoothly in both offices,” he said. “When I had to run those offices, you never heard of nonsense like what’s happening now going on. Something has to be done before BEC goes bankrupt.”

He added that if that happens then perhaps a foreigner would come in, buy the company and BEC employees would become slaves in their own country.

One thing that was clear was that he did not support the BTC’s privatisation, nor does he believe BEC should be sold.

Mr. Roker assured that his request is not politically motivated. He said he is simply seeking answers for the Bahamian people.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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