‘10,000 Bahamians Living in Darkness in Grand Bahama’

Go Lean Commentary

Cruise Powe Outage(1)“10,000 in the dark” … is probably a hyperbole.

But there is something wrong in Freeport, the 2nd city in the Bahamas, on the island of Grand Bahama. This foregoing article is just the “tip of the iceberg”. There are some major issues being endured there that warranted the attention of the publishers of the book Go Lean … Caribbean, a roadmap to implement the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The book focuses on re-booting the economics of the Caribbean, a region of 42 million people in 30 member-states; and yet there is a special advocacy in the book just for re-booting Freeport (10 Ways to Re-boot Freeport; Page 112).

The underlying issues in Freeport stems from the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, the 1955 landmark legislation that created the City of Freeport under the guise of a private company, the Grand Bahama Port Authority. This agreement makes Freeport unique compared to all the other Bahamian communities. But some tax-free provisions of that agreement expire after 60 years in 2015; industrial development in Freeport depended on those provisions. Today, companies, developers, and investors do not know if there will be an extension of those provisions. Alas, a lot of industrial activity has come to a stand-still; the resultant unemployment is undeniably debilitating the community. One observer, a noted local Chartered Accountant Kevin Seymour, likens this state to a ‘Damocles Sword’ hanging over the city – an imagery from Greek mythology.

See this news story here:

By: Denise Maycock, Tribune Freeport Reporter; (with some re-formatting by the Go Lean promoters)

Families For Justice President Rev Glenroy Bethel says it is inhumane that over 10,000 families in Grand Bahama are living without power, and are unable to feed their children a hot meal.

He is calling on Grand Bahama Minister Dr Michael Darville to launch an investigation to determine just how many families have been disconnected by the Grand Bahama Power Company.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday [February 26, 2014], Rev Bethel said: ‘Families for Justice Organisation’ sent a letter to the Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville concerning the inhumane treatment the Grand Bahama Power Company have imposed on thousands of Bahamians in Grand Bahama. [His direct statement:]

“It has been reported from reliable sources that there is over 10,000 family members, throughout the community of Grand Bahama, living in their homes in the dark for months, and in some cases for over one to two years without power – some with newborn babies and small children.”

Rev Bethel claims that many families are unable to feed their children and themselves because they have no power in their homes. [He continued:]

“This is inhumane and we call on the Minister for Grand Bahama to take some action against the Grand Bahama Port Authority, which is the regulators for the Power Company in our community.”

The civic leader said that while researching the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, their legal team discovered that the Power Company in Grand Bahama was never supposed to be a profit-making company. He said, [about] the Power Company is making high profits and putting a great burden on families in Grand Bahama:

“We make this plea to the Minister of Grand Bahama on behalf of the thousands of family members who are finding it difficult to cook a meal for their families, to intervene on those families’ behalf.”

Source: http://www.tribune242.com/news/2014/feb/27/10000-bahamians-living-in-darkness-in-grand-bahama/

The book Go Lean … Caribbean advocates for change in the Caribbean in general, but also specifically for Freeport. It posits that the private company, the Grand Bahama Port Authority should go! That the interest of the private shareholders should be divested (bought at market prices) and sold to a democratic municipality, the City of Freeport. The roadmap states further that the City should then assume the rights and benefits of the Hawksbill Creek Agreement, and then the tax-free provisions should be extended. With the 1955 law expiring, the power in this negotiation is with the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

The functionality of the CU would then impact the model of Freeport better than anywhere else in the Bahamas. The roadmap describes the integration of a regional power grid (Page 113) with underwater pipelines and cabling (Page 107), allowing lower energy costs, ranking/ monitoring of monopolies (Page 202), establishment of Self Governing Entities (Page 105), and incubating a ship-building industry (Page 209). The book further introduces the Union Atlantic Turnpike (Page 205) for efficient transportation and logistics options to empower the economic engines of the region. Freeport would be on the frontline of these endeavors, due to its infrastructure and proximity to US trading centers.

How to pay for all of this change? The roadmap details initial funding options (Page 101), escalation of the economic money supply/M1 factors (Page 198), and the consolidation of the region’s capital markets (Page 200), in a manner that would provide liquidity for the community investments activities.

This Go Lean roadmap projects the creation of 2.2 million new jobs (Page 151). How many of those jobs will be in Freeport? This is open to debate; but this constitutes a better debate compared to this headline of how many thousands are left in the dark, due to the failures of the Freeport society.

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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