If you’re in Abaco I’m sure you are excited. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, an August First warrior or a late month scavenger, a trap setter or a ledge diver, whether you like the way crawfish tastes or you just enjoy the sport – the opening of crawfish season means a lot of things to a lot of people.
Crawfishing is endearing to Abaconians because it’s a tradition. Crawfishing, depending on who you talk to, is a hobby, a livelihood, or a right-of-passage that has been handed down through the years. Since the first settlers of these cays we have looked to the sea for support.
Going out on the water to your “secret spot” with friends or family is something we share with our ancestors who fished these waters over 200 years ago.
Something else we share with them is a lack of electricity.
Abaco, and The Bahamas in general, does not have entirely unique challenges when it comes to providing and distributing current. Other island and coastal nations face storms and salt. Other archipelagos somehow manage to distribute steady power. All countries face corruption and inefficiency.
I am not saying the challenges we do have are not, in fact, challenging. And I’m not diminishing the hard work of many BEC employees. What I am saying is that these challenges are not insurmountable. We should be demanding better. Obviously the people that are, and have been, in charge of BEC have failed. Solutions have not come from juggling the same set of people in and out, especially when all they seem to care about is politics and the wrong kind of power.
The people want electricity – not excuses.
Electric bills going up and up while the same sorry state of affairs exists in the grid is not acceptable. We should not accept it. You should not accept it. And now they intend to add VAT Tax to our BEC bill without addressing how they will fix any of the real problems that inflate the average Bahamian’s bill.
We already know two areas where changes can be made.
1) “Big wigs,” political or otherwise, running up QUARTER MILLION DOLLAR BILLS. I’m still not over how BEC’s own Executive Chairman can run up such a tab all while blaming BEC’s troubles on John Q. Bahamian being late with their light bill. You can almost hear him channeling a Scooby Doo villain, saying, “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for the meddling press.”
2) Large shanty towns illegally tapping into the grid. I’m not going to go into much detail here as the situation we have on Abaco is too large to deal with in this editorial. But it is dangerous for those that live there and it is a substantial drain on BEC’s resources. A drain they must recoup somewhere.
Maybe in the end going without power is good for us. It keeps us in touch with our history. The stars are brighter on these frequent, powerless nights. The lighthouse stands radiant. And it takes us back to basics.
After all, we don’t necessarily need reliable electricity to go out in the boat with friends and family to our secret crawfishing spot.