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News : Grand Bahama Last Updated: May 7, 2019 - 11:30:53 AM

URCA’s Executive Team headed to Grand Bahama for Public Consultations for three days
By Sarah Kirkby
May 6, 2019 - 11:00:22 AM

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URCA's Executive Team will be on Grand Bahama for three days of public Town Hall Meetings. The URCA Executive Team continues their public dialog with consumers in the Northern Bahamas with three days of Town Hall Meetings on Grand Bahama. URCA's CEO Stephen Bereaux, URCA Director of Electronic Communications Carlton Smith and URCA Director of Utilities and Energy Shevonn Cambridge will host meetings in Eight Mile Rock, Freeport and East End (High Rock) to explain upgrades in customer service initiatives and the teams objectives for 2019-2020. (Photo courtesy of Ronnie Archer)

Freeport, Bahamas – Executives from The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) have embarked on a series of public town hall meetings to listen to the concerns of consumers. The URCA representatives have held discussions with residents in Abaco and in New Providence, and now URCA’s executive team will continue their campaign of public consultations across the northern islands, with three scheduled town hall meetings on Grand Bahama and “pop up” office hours at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.

URCA is responsible for regulating the Electronic Communications Sector (ECS) and Electricity Sector (ES) in The Bahamas.  ECS includes internet, landline and mobile phone services, pay-tv, radio and television broadcasting; while the ES covers the generation, transmission, supply and distribution of electricity.  Town Hall Meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 7th, in Eight Mile Rock at the Eight Mile Rock High School, on Wednesday, May 8th in Freeport at the Father Pastena Centre, and on Thursday, May 9th, in East End, at the St. Nicholas Parish.  All meetings will begin  at 6pm, URCA’s team will share new initiatives in customer service, renewable energy, broadcasting, disaster preparedness regulations as well as objectives for  2019.

URCA's Shevonn Cambridge, URCA Director of Utilities and Energy, addresses residents at Abaco Town Hall Meeting - Prior to coming to Grand Bahama, URCA Representatives held a Town Hall Meeting in Abaco to listen to the concerns of customers on the island. Shevonn Cambridge, URCA Director of Utilities and Energy noted that feedback from all stakeholders is important because the information gathered influences the work of URCA and it allows them to understand the needs of the public. (Photo courtesy Tim Aylen)

During the consultation sessions in New Providence, URCA CEO Stephen Bereaux, told attendees that it was important for the representatives to receive feedback from all stakeholders, because the information gathered influences the work of the regulator and allows them to understand the needs of the public. "What we want is to hear from you,” said Bereaux. “What you think are the biggest areas of concern, and how we should be exercising our regulatory jurisdiction. Our goal is to find out what are the priorities you feel we should be working on for you.”

Renewable energy, consumer protection, service quality and the handling of complaints, were among some of the hot button topics discussed in the previous forums. CEO Stephen Bereaux, along with URCA’s Director of Electronic Communications, Carlton Smith, and URCA Director of Utilities, Shevonn Cambridge, will be on Grand Bahama to provide consumers with general information about the authority, answer questions, address customer concerns, and discuss how the roll out of their annual plan. The team will also host 2 days of ‘Pop Up’ store fronts at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce. A first for Grand Bahama residents, which will allow for one on one meetings on licensing, media or internet startups, and renewable energy questions or concerns.

URCA Executive Team with Abaco Chamber of Commerce Director Daphne Degregory. Consumers in Abaco who attended URCA'S Town Hall Meeting used the forum to express several major concerns to URCA's Executives, some of the hot button issues included consumer protection, the handling of complaints, quality service and Alternative Energy. Pictured from left to right are Alexis Burrows, Corporate and Consumer Relations Officer; Shevonn Cambridge, Director of Utilities and Energy; Daphne DeGregory, Abaco Chamber of Commerce Director and Carlton Smith, Director of Electronic Communications”.(Photo courtesy Tim Aylen)

“We are looking forward to being in Freeport,” noted director Smith, a former media personality in Grand Bahama. “I am excited to be working at home for a few days and to address any concerns Grand Bahamians have about the services we regulate. I encourage everyone to come out and have their input and tell us what they feel is not working or working well.”

For more information persons can look for URCA Bahamas on main social media pages, those living in Freeport will be able to watch their Town Hall Meeting via live streaming services. Persons interested in scheduling an appointment with URCA Executives during “pop up” office hours, may contact the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce at 352-8329. For more information on URCA Bahamas, visit their website, https://www.urcabahamas.bs.

Consumers in New Providence were eager to voice their opinions to URCA's Executives and hear the corporation's objectives for 2019-2020. The attendees listened intently to URCA representatives as they answered questions and explained how the proposed rollout plan will impact consumers. (Photo courtesy of Ronnie Archer)

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