By Orlando Burke
My most recent electric bill showed a significant increase. My energy charges totaled $252.50 while the fuel charge was $549.16. If paid before the discount date, the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) would reward me with a discount amounting to around $30.00. I will not be hooked by such insignificant bait.
Originally, fuel was an input in the production process of the BL&P; now it is both an input, and an add-on. An apt analogy would be the case of a baker selling a loaf of bread and charging extra for the flour used to make it.
Currently, Barbados is experiencing challenging economic times. A period characterized by lay-offs, calls for Unions to exercise wage restraint, and the common sight of persons having to leave items at the cash register in the supermarket.
I am concerned that in such an environment, the BL&P, a private monopoly appears comfortable in recording a profit of $54 million. While it is accepted that investment in a new plant facility, as alluded to by an official of BL&P in the Nation Newspaper, Sunday Sun edition of 28th August, 2011 maybe necessary over the long term, there is still no justification for the super-profits recorded by the Company. Continue reading
Should we sell Barbados Light & Power to the Canadians?
Good for Barbados, or selling the family silver?
by West Side Davie with Cliverton
Independence Day is a fitting time for Bajans to consider the difference between dreams and goals, and the difference between blind celebration and a grounded perspective on reality. For too long we have celebrated November 30th with much flag waving and remembrance of the heady days of the 1960’s – but little serious consideration given to where the good ship Barbados is sailing now and how the machinery is holding up.
We dance and sing about how we love the ship and what a good ship it is (and it is too!) – but I fear we’ve been putting off some needed maintenance and refitting because it’s easier and cheaper to slap on a coat of paint and say “It still looks good!”
Indeed, it could be said that Independence Day has become somewhat of a coat of paint administered annually to make us feel good about ourselves. Or, perhaps Independence Day is like a shot of rum for the masses so they won’t notice that we’ve just mortgaged another part of the ship to keep food on the table and fuel in the tanks.
Friends, if you borrow money to put food on the table and fuel in the tank, you’ll soon lose your ship as you sell it off piece by piece while the machinery deteriorates for lack of care.
And that is why I approach Emera’s offer to purchase 100% of Barbados Light & Power with some trepidation and perhaps some guilt too. Continue reading