Award of controversial Bahamas power company contract delayed again

PerryChristie-1Nassau, Bahamas — Notwithstanding numerous delays in the process, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie has indicated that the decision to award a controversial management contract as part of the planned reform of the state-owned Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) will not be finalised for another week or two.

In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, Christie said “some opportunities” have come up that have stalled the process.

He said he expects to meet with the task force looking into the matter this week to address details.

“There has been a recommended path. We have to have a final meeting with the grouping that made the recommendation and then we have to have a meeting with the group that has been recommended,” Christie said.

The accounting firm of KPMG was reportedly engaged as consultants to advise on the most suitable bidder and, according to local sources, they recommended one of the bidders in question. The Cabinet is now apparently considering whether to accept or disregard that expert recommendation.

However, according to the Tribune newspaper in The Bahamas, a US public company, Carolinas-based PowerSecure, “is effectively the only contender remaining at the table for the BEC management contract,” something that a source close to BEC told Caribbean News Now is simply “not true”.

Last week, Christie was reported to have said, “I have received written support from the Embassy in Nassau, from the deputy secretary of state and the Secretary of State of the US government [John Kerry] with respect to a particular applicant, certifying their integrity.”

The US State Department has in the meantime refused to confirm or deny the accuracy of the reported “integrity certification” by US officials up to and including Kerry or explain its rationale in the light of pending complaints against PowerSecure and/or its senior management for alleged violations of US securities laws.

The completion of the management deal has been pushed back numerous times since Christie announced plans for BEC reform in August 2013.

The prime minister originally said the contract would be signed by the end of 2013.

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