DNA: BPL & Government should get their act together

There is so much that can be said about our preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to this crisis to date. There is a pattern that is developing when we consider our approach to governance and more recently Hurricane Dorian. However, there is a time for everything and that time is not now.

We are in a crisis of epic proportions that requires us all to work together to nurture our nation back to physical, economic, social and spiritual health.

That being said, there is a need for better coordination between the government and its agencies. Policies and decisions should be well thought out with proper consultation. We need to stop sending mixed messages to the Bahamian people and further worsen this crisis with self inflicted chaos.

A case in point is BPL. The Minister responsible BPL announced a few days ago that the power company will suspend disconnections as a result of the crisis and the Emergency Order. Some days later, the Minister lamented that BPL is facing a cash crisis due to nonpayment of electricity bills by customers. Yesterday, BPL announced that disconnections will resume today.

What is going on at BPL? Is the Prime Minister, Minister and BPL on the same page? Are they all aware of what is going on and the ramifications of the Emergency Order? Is there a comprehensive plan that is being shared with all concerned? For goodness sake, the Bahamian people are already under immense emotional, financial and psychological stress. We don’t need to add to this stress.

There are those who cannot afford to pay their bills due to loss of income or employment due to the Coronavirus. These people need all the help they can get. The government and BPL should tell us whether they plan to help these people and provide some relief or not. Don’t send mixed messages.

 There are those who can afford to pay but are confined to their homes due to the Emergency Order. These people want to pay but are finding it difficult to do so because a number of entities are closed and they are practicing social distancing. The online portal for payment is not working properly and BPL is aware of this.

A piece of advice for BPL: before you start threatening to disconnect people, get your act together and make it easy and possible for those who can pay their bills to do so and clarify the government’s position on helping those negatively impacted by this pandemic. Stop adding to our peoples stress please.

I hope this is an April Fool’s Day stunt.

Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance