DNA Chairman: We are in a national crisis!

  • 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 solarisation, 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

New Year, New Dump Fires and Much More of the Same

Over the weekend, residents in Nassau with the misfortune of living near the New Providence landfill were awoken by the smell of noxious fumes and thick heavy smoke – the result of yet another dump fire. The health and environmental implications of these toxic fires have been well documented and have been linked to any number of illnesses facing Bahamians. While in opposition, the FNM was extremely vocal about the PLP’s poor handling of the dump. At the time, they promised immediate action and vowed to make the plight of area residents a priority of an FNM administration. This unfortunately can now be added to the list of broken promises made by this government, who, like the PLP before, it has FAILED TO ACT and Bahamians who went to the polls on May 10th to vote for change are experiencing what can only be described as a severe case of buyer’s remorse.

Even with a well-known environmentalist in a key leadership role, we seem to have gone from one ineffective minister to another. Indeed, Romauld Ferreira’s performance during these past 8 months in office has been nothing short of DISMAL. After months of dawdling on the implementation of promised changes at that facility, this reactionary government is only now, in the wake of two large weekend blazes, scrambling to answer the questions of irate Bahamians.

Residents living with the severe impact of dump fires are tired of governments which continue to pay only lip service to the country’s environmental concerns. The time has come for our country to move on from an era where politicians use such issues for political mileage.

True remediation of the landfill will require innovative solutions which take advantage of technological advancements consider the major environmental implications much like the ones unveiled as part of the Democratic National Alliance’s Vision 2017. The DNA proposed the transformation of the landfill into an efficient waste-to-energy facility designed to end decades of environmental degradation and address lingering concerns regarding energy production in the capital.

The Democratic National Alliance calls on the government to FINALLY make this issue a priority. Bahamians are no longer prepared to accept much of the same late again style of governance which they experienced under the PLP. They voted for change and deserve for those changes to come to fruition!

Christopher Mortimer
DNA Interim Leader