Feb 26, 2024

February 15, 2024

Yesterday, the entire nation witnessed a most unfortunate spectacle of blatant mistruths and disgraceful contradictions by Minister of Transport and Energy, JoBeth Coleby. While she contradicted the the Prime Minister earlier account of the same story they both continue to mislead the Bahamian people on what has been transpiring at BPL.

Minister Coleby  misled Parliament by stating that the massive $100 million plus loan that the taxpayers had to provide to BPL was due to the pandemic. That is simply false and easy to debunk. She clearly was not listening when the Prime Minister told the nation  back in October 2022 that the spike in BPL fuel arrears came about because the Davis Administration took the conscious decision to “postpone the [fuel surcharge] increase” after oil prices spiked due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict that had started earlier that year.

Even though according to the Prime Minister, “there was a discussion at the time about increasing BPL monthly fuel charge”, the government put it off until they were forced to make the massive increases in fuel surcharges.  It had nothing to do with the pandemic.  It had everything to do with PLP mismanagement of BPL.

For his part, the Prime Minister continued to mislead the House of Assembly and the Bahamian people by again repeating the fiction that the $150 million arrears represented legacy debt.  The government’s own quarterly debt statistical bulletin for the period ending December 2023 shows that BPL’s unsecured debt rose from $45 million in 2021 to as high as $189 million in 2023, a sum that is uncoincidentally close to the $150 million in supposed legacy debt.   As detailed in its own debt report, the Opposition maintains that the lion’s share of the $150 million debt taken on by the Davis administration represents BPL fuel arrears generated since they took office in September 2021;  this happened because of the disastrous botching of the fuel hedge arrangement and the further poor judgement in not adjusting the fuel surcharge in the manner prescribed by law and regulation.

Instead of coming clean to the Bahamian people about the horrible handling of the hedge and tendering his resignations for his astounding ineptitude, Minister Sears misled the Parliament and public. Only when he was caught he then implicated the Prime Minister in the bad decision and the subsequent denial that they were briefed on the hedge. Despite that shaneful back and forth with Sears and Davis the Prime Minister and his new Minister Minister continue to spew mistruths on top of mistruths. They have not learned from the last episode. The Bahamian people and media are seeing through the ongoing charade.

Hon. Michael C. Pintard, M.P.


Free National Movement

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