After more than two years of delays, the government’s plans for energy sector reform are finally taking shape, as marked by the signing of a multi-million dollar, 5 year management agreement with the Carolina based Power Secure International. Already however, Power Secure, the Christie administrations savior of the energy sector, its answer to exorbitant energy costs and unreliability, has failed to meet its paid obligation to present a comprehensive business plan to govern the way forward; offering only a short term 90 day strategy.
Even more disturbing however are reports of the impending layoffs at the newly constituted Bahamas Power and Light (BPL). Despite previous assurances from the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the security of jobs at the electricity provider, scores of Bahamians are now potentially in line for job cuts which are being couched as Voluntary Separation Packages.
Such a move could not come at a worse time and proves yet again that for this Christie led government, the idea of ‘Believing in Bahamians’ is nothing more than a campaign slogan. At a time when the country continues to face economic uncertainty and record unemployment a responsible and caring government would not condone such job cuts. Instead, this government seems prepared to repeat the mistakes of the last FNM administration who in relinquishing ownership of BTC, allowed hundreds of hard working Bahamians to be put out to pasture.
Rather than offering answers, and security as their name suggests, Power Secure has offered little in the way of job security for Bahamians or in terms of bringing resolution to the challenges associated with power generation across the country. Bahamians have again been left with more questions than answers. For example, what are the company’s plans past their initial 90 days plan? How many persons will be impacted by the impending layoffs? How will those individuals be chosen? What happens to individuals chosen as part of the voluntary separation program who opt not to accept the company’s offer? Will the terminated employees be replaced with foreign employees of Power Secure’s choosing?
The government must provide answers to these very important questions. The Democratic National Alliance demands it, the tenets of good governance dictate it and the livelihood of potentially hundreds of Bahamians depend on it.