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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Jul 4, 2019 - 10:59:02 AM

DNA Chairman: We are in a national crisis
By Omar B. Smith, National Chairman Democratic National Alliance
Jul 3, 2019 - 5:15:08 PM

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  •     PLP and FNM have failed on energy
  •     Vulnerable Bahamians suffering under load shedding
  •     Blame game is not the solution
  •     Private sector should assess economic impact
  •     DNA is only Party with a plan

Bahamians are in a state of hopelessness, frustration and annoyance by the recent blackouts that have become a part of everyday life in our country. The load shedding exercise being carried out by BPL is evidence that successive Free National Movement (FNM) and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administrations including the current Minnis-led administration lack a viable plan for reliable and sustainable energy. Meanwhile, while the people sweat, PM Minnis and his entourage are in comfortable and air conditioned accommodation at a resort in St. Lucia.

Unfortunately, the real economic impact of this crisis cannot be quantified and it is yet to be made known to the Bahamian people. The current load shedding exercise could not have come at a worse time when children are home for the summer break, home patients need reliable electricity, the elderly are in discomfort and persons with special needs are at risk and babies lack comfort. Additionally, struggling Bahamians are losing appliances daily and thanks to nature, we are experiencing heat and humid levels like no time in recent history.

The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is also concerned about the overall impact of unreliable power supply and telecommunication services on the Bahamian economy; particularly, as it relates to small businesses during these tough economic times. Many businesses have had to close early, shutdown or not open at all due to their inability to access electricity. Considering the fact that most Bahamian businesses or homes do not have generators or solar power, this is foreseeable. In cases where few businesses have backup generators, the cost of maintenance and purchasing fuel has significantly increased business costs.

The DNA calls upon the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), Carmichael, Coconut Grove and other Business Leagues to survey their members in order to gain intelligence on the net effect of these blackouts including the impact on turnover, profit, business volumes and customer patronage.

It is unacceptable that The Bahamas is experiencing this assault on its people in the 21st Century and we in the DNA submit that this is a national crisis. Added to the BPL saga, we have also been experiencing problems with BTC phone lines making it difficult for Bahamians to communicate, while lack of access on numerous occasions to emergency numbers like 911 and 919 pose a security risk and could literally mean the difference between life and death. We could and should do better in our Bahamaland.

We need visionary leaders that will utilize the natural resources of our country and move toward alternative energy. What we do not need are PLP and FNM Members of Parliament arguing over who made the Bahamian people sweat the most as they have been doing. Our persistence and reliance on fossil fuels is having a costly impact on doing business in The Bahamas, our nation's ability to gain a competitive edge over our regional and global counterparts and equally important, the right of Bahamians to enjoy their homes in peace without sweat or fear of break in from delinquents.

A DNA led government would have been full speed into our comprehensive energy plan for solarization, waste to energy, the use of liquefied natural gas and other forms of alternative energy to reduce the cost and reliability of electricity at the two-year mark. This would have improved our position on the ease of doing business index and positioned our country to be a global leader in reducing carbon emissions and promoting a sustainable environment. Instead, we are stuck with visionless leadership who are prepared to pander to and reward special interests groups who donated to their campaigns while maintaining the status quo of monopolistic power.

We appreciate the hardworking team of technicians and professionals who through no fault of their own are working hard to bring relief to the Bahamian people; however, we in the DNA submit that true relief will come when we rid ourselves of visionless and lackluster leadership from both the PLP and FNM.

Omar B. Smith

National Chairman

Democratic National Alliance

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