Highlights from The House - Sept. 20
BREAKING: BPL PowerSecure Contract Terminated
Minister of Works Desmond Bannister tabled his much awaited Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) Business plan which outlined strategies to make the national energy provider more efficient and cost-effective. He announced that BPL and the Bahamian government have amicably severed their contract with PowerSecure, the Southern Company subsidiary charged with restructuring the utility provider. The Minister also stated that BPL/BEC breached public procurement protocol in several contracts over the last administration and a number of conflicts of interest are also suspected. A report on these will be tabled when the Royal Bahamas Police Force completes its investigation.
The Minister's contribution also outlined plans to reduce staff by 30%. The redundancy program will commence next month.
Other Highlights from the House:
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest, in his contribution, reviewed the recent IMF and Moody's reports on the Bahamian Economy and stated that they reinforced government's strategy to manage Bahamian fiscal status. the Minister expects to reduce public spending by 10% and announced that a Fiscal Responsibility Bill is being drafted and will be circulated for public consultation ahead of being tabled in The House of Assembly. The Bill is expected to be tabled by next budget cycle (Spring 2018).
The Organization for Responsible Governance has been advocating for a Fiscal Responsibility Act that would curb government spending, help the nation reduce deficit and debt, and make public finances more transparent. Learn more about Fiscal Responsibilty here.
DPM Turnquest also mentioned that the Public Financial Management and Performance Monitoring Reform Project, a joint project with the Inter-American Development bank which will improve government delivery systems in Bahamas, is well under way and preparing for implementation.
Learn more about that project here.
In his contribution, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames revealed that though the murder rate is up 40%, overall crime is down 17%. He outlined Ministry's plan to address crime, stating that a multi-ministry task force will attempt to address crime's underlying issues.
- The Ministry will be engaging civil society partners and community members for a joint "Crime Advisory Group" and aims to partner with community groups to target "at risk" youth.
- The Royal Bahamas Police Force will be launching a gang unit
- The Ministry is launching a "Technical Advisory Group" from members of the public with special skills to advise the Ministry on cost-effective crime-fighting technology.
- The CCTV system will be updated and expanded.
- The ankle bracelet program will be evaluated to ensure that those charged with violent crimes are not on the street.
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