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Fenestration and Glass Company Letter to the People of Grand Bahama
By Steve Howes
Mar 15, 2010 - 11:35:25 PM

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Dear People of Grand Bahama,

I am righting this letter to inform you what is really going on and what the future may be for this Island.  

Three years ago my partners and I decided to invest In the Grand Bahamas. After getting the necessary permits and license's, no easy feat in itself, we purchased property on Queens Highway and started building the production factory. This factory builds hurricane protective windows, security glass and decorative glass for doors. During the construction of this large factory we realized just how much we liked Grand Bahama and its people. We had plans to also build a rubber gasket factory in China but decided to put it into our plans here for Grand Bahama instead. Our business plan and potential work force was multiplied ten fold, potentially bringing more than three hundred jobs locally, giving Grand Bahama a huge economic boost it so desperately needed.   

Since then, plans to build a factory in joint venture with a German company to manufacture solar panels are in place, we already have the Port Authority license and the land picked out. Potentially another hundred jobs in construction and two hundred factory production jobs. Our German joint partners are here next month.  

Three years later, two factories are now in production and growing larger every week. The window factory has started exporting finished goods and companies here no longer have to import hurricane products. They are made on this island by local people for local people.  

Our rubber factory has five production lines installed, two are in production now running twenty four hours a day for three days a week and eight hours on the fourth day. We are adding new people almost every week (24 just this last month) giving them training in careers never before seen in the Bahamas. The sales of our products are growing worldwide even in this bad economy. That is due to the wonderful quality of our product made by our local people and the good sales force we have built across the world. In the last few months we have grown our production from thirty five thousand feet a week to over two hundred thousand feet per week, a fantastic achievement by our personnel. We have had visits from perspective customers from Germany, Switzerland, UK, Canada, USA and other countries who want to buy our products giving us a real future as a large international manufacturing company.  

Unfortunately with GREAT REGRET I have to inform the people of Grand Bahamas that future is not going to be here due to The Grand Bahama Power Company.  

Ever since we started to build our factories and then opening and running of our business on this island we have been tricked, lied to, overcharged and had our equipment destroyed over and over again to the point of having to run on our own generator to power our factories. The Grand Bahama Power Company in our opinion runs this Island without any control by the government or the Port Authority. It acts like gangsters to any body who stands up to their intimidation and bullying. They say we owe them one hundred and twenty thousand dollars when in fact they owe us more than one hundred and seventy thousand dollars but of course they deny that (although we have proof) and say they are not responsible for anything or the damage that they do. They even had the nerve to charge us thirty thousand dollars as a connection charge on top of a deposit.  

Do you remember the recent town hall meetings for all of the people so fed up by their antics? They hired a public relations company just to appease the public and tell them what they wanted to hear. Nothing has changed.  They still turn off the power of the old, sick and families with babies without notice who can not pay the excessive overcharging. It's easy to see how they care about the people in West End now making them come downtown to pay their power bills.  For over ten years they have promised alternative energy. They still are promising. If they can't do the job they should go, right?

MR. ADAMS... one of their lawyers has sent us a threatening letter and a cease and desist demand stating that we can not run our own generator to power our factories and yet they (the power company) can't supply us the power we need without spiking our equipment and stopping our production.  Every time we have spiking and outages (almost a daily occurrence) it costs us thousands of dollars just to re-start up our lines and pay for the lost product. They charge six times the price of power in North Carolina, 5.8 cents per kwh, (where we are moving to) and three times the price its costing us to run our own generators. They are in absolute panic that other commercial customers will find out the real cost of running their own power and to not have regular outages and damages.

To stay here we would have to fight the Power Company in the High Courts, spending millions in lawyer fees. We have already spent in excess of twenty million dollars building the two new factories on Queens Hwy, buying and setting up the equipment and training our employees. We are tired of fighting to bring business and prosperity to this Island. We have decided it will be better to leave than to give Mr Adams, the attorney, millions more in fees or to bow down to the gangsters at the Grand Bahama Power Company who in our opinion really run this island and have its future in its hands.  In all my business life, with operations in the UK, USA and China we have been successful and grown our companies, but for the first time I have given up. I've never had to fight to bring jobs anywhere before. It's so sad and a huge blow to this Island and its future.  

In the Bahamas, you the people should have the power, not the Power Company. You have the most power in the world. It's called the VOTE. If you think you and your children's future are important, ask your MP what he or she is going to do about creating real jobs for your future, especially as the island has just lost many more good paying jobs we created, due to the Power Company and it's Lawyer's short sightedness. There certainly are not tourists lining up to create jobs... and although very welcome, beer sales from spring break students hardly sustain this downturned economy for long.

We are going to keep a small satellite window factory on the island as it would not use hardly any electricity using only saws and hand drills and only in production during the day. That way the Grand Bahama Power Company will be very happy, Mr Adams can tell his client he won and the only losers are my company and of course the people of Grand Bahama who lose more than five hundred jobs.  

My heart aches as I am forced to make this decision.  

With great sadness.  

Steve Howes

Fenestration And Glass

Freeport, Grand Bahama


About Fenestration & Glass Services: Fenestration and Glass Services Ltd (FGS) is a worldwide supplier of window products manufactured in Freeport on Queens Highway. Their all-Bahamian worker force creates the finest quality economical windows with the highest design rating, resulting in excellence performance of the window against storms or other forms of impact.FGS windows are constructed with a patented hurricane impact glass as a standard offering and they offer an upgrade of thermo-insulated glass to help homeowners combat lost heating and cooling.


Read subsequent articles in The Tribune and the Freeport News



Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his/her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of TheBahamasWeekly.com


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