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THIS WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS (8-12 FEBRUARY 2016)

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see times;”>Government inks management agreement with Power Secure

sales times;”>On Monday the 8th February, the government of The Bahamas and PowerSecure signed a Management Services Agreement (MSA) that assigns PowerSecure management of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) for the next five years.

The MSA includes a comprehensive, financial-grade business plan which outlines significant cost-reduction and reliability targets along with renewable energy and customer service initiatives for New Providence and the Family Islands.

Recently energy reform legislation legally enabled the incorporation of BPL and the rate reduction bond facility to refinance BEC’s existing legacy debt and to fund infrastructure and efficiency investments for BPL.

PowerSecure is a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: POWR) and headquartered in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Its 33-year energy veteran and Founder, Mr. Sidney Hinton, will serve as BPL’s President and CEO.    

PowerSecure will receive a base annual management fee of $2 million and incentives based on pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs) related to cost-reductions, reliability improvements and customer-service enhancements.  

The new Board of Directors (BOD) for BPL is as follow:

o    Nathaniel Beneby, Chairman of the Board

o    Donna Smith, Deputy Chairperson

o    Deepak Bhatnagar, Executive Director

o    Daphne Simmons

o    Patricia Hermanns

o    Andrew Rogers

Additionally, the BOD has appointed Jeff Wallace as the new CEO of BPL; Mr. Kevin Basden, General Manager of BEC, was appointed Advisor to the Board of Directors and Mr. Deepak Bhatnagar will serve as Executive Director, overseeing the activities of the 100% Bahamian owned BPL.

The Bahamas government believes the signing was an exciting day for BPL and The Bahamas as the country takes an important step in continuing to improve its economy and building a foundation for long-term prosperity for the Bahamian people.

“Today is an exciting new day in The Bahamas as we progress into a formal relationship with PowerSecure to implement a robust business plan that will substantially reduce customer electricity costs and will provide increased reliability,” said Nathaniel Beneby, board Chairman. 

This week in Parliament

The Bahamas Parliament met briefly on Wednesday of this week where two statements by Ministers were delivered. 

Minister of National Security the Hon. Bernard J. Nottage updated House colleagues and the nation at large on the official trip of Prime Minister Christie to Geneva, Switzerland.  Mr. Christie left the capital on Tuesday of this week for Switzerland to meet with principals of the Mediterranean Shipping Company about additional investment opportunities in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return on Sunday, 14th February.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell updated the House on the continuing efforts of the Bahamas government in honouring Bahamian heroes and heroines. He announced a film festival featuring the work of Bahamian Academy Award winner Sir Sidney Poitier. His extensive cinematic work will be aired on ZNS TV-13. Other luminaries will be honoured throughout the year with a concert tribute to Bahamian song legend Ronnie Butler on the 50th anniversary of Majority Rule in January 2017.

Another music icon, Freddie Munnings Sr. was honoured in song during the 2016 Majority Rule holiday weekend concert in Rawson Square.    

Police Commissioner unveils 2016 crime plan

Candidly admitting that 2015 was a challenging year on crime for The Bahamas, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade presented mixed results in the fight against crime. 

He told the media that in the 30 categories of serious crimes, increases were recorded in murder (19%), attempted rape (33%), rape (16%), unlawful sexual intercourse and armed robbery. All other categories except manslaughter and attempted murder decreased by double digits. Overall, crime was down by five percent reported the Commissioner.

Providing some insight into the daunting task of beating back the scourge of crime and its fear, Commissioner Greenslade shared police intelligence about the mindset, the psychology and overall profile of the typical career criminal.

“These are relatively young men; they are adults but they are relatively young people. They are not employed; they are not seeking any employment and they have committed themselves to a life of crime.

“Their position is they are going to sell illegal drugs in any form. They will acquire illegal firearms and ammunition and they are going to stake their claim in New Providence and they will demonstrate to us as a people how bad they are.”

The Police Commissioner further revealed that there is clearly too much complicity, aiding, abetting and comfort given to those hardened criminals by families and friends.

“But the average person that we see lives in a home with family members and friends, relatives and associates and when they commit these dastardly deeds, they return to their families, friends and their associates and they talk about it. If we continue to cloak that, we are going to continue to reap the whirlwind” said Commissioner Greenslade.

The Bahamas recorded 146 murders in 2015. 

Drones and helicopters to be added to the crime fight

Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade also revealed on Wednesday that as a complement to the force’s existing crime fighting strategies and priorities, he intends in 2016 to “acquire the services of a helicopter for rapid responses to serious crimes, fleeing felons and for patrols in hotspots.” 

Additional plans include the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones and the construction of a new and modern forensic laboratory with the capacity for DNA fingerprinting.

As for the policing priorities pursued in previous years, the Commissioner said that saturation patrols in criminal hotspots will be intensified; Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) usage will be extended; community policing with Urban Renewal will continue; the anti-gang unit and school policing program will be expanded and the strategy of intelligence-led policing operations will be deployed as a pre-emptive strike against criminality.  READ MORE…