As we hit the middle of August and the end of the traditional tourist season we can reflect on the last handful of months. Coming off the giddy highs of election fever, Abaco focused inward again first to vote for their local government then to grapple with ongoing problems of the island.
What was otherwise a buoyant season for most tourism-based businesses has been marred by flagrant, unchecked crime and the stifling heat and darkness courtesy of Bahamas Power & Light.
Brazen break-ins have repeatedly hit the areas of Pelican Shores, Eastern Shores, Elbow Cay and others all year. Seemingly intensifying as the summer heat did. There were some periods of time when there would be a boat theft every night. Be it land or sea, the spirit of Bahamian piracy is well on display.
But this piracy does not come with the romantic notions you read in the history books or see on television. These thieves are vile pustules on our society – selling out our future one burgled, disgruntled visitor at a time.
That said, some residences and businesses would be better off being robbed in the traditional way rather than having to continue to pay these skyrocketing power bills. What can be said about our woeful power situation that has not been said before? Perhaps that is the most aggravating part: we have been saying things about it for decades.
How many thousands of dollars of damage has been done to Abaconians’ appliance this year alone thanks to jarring surges and dragging brown-outs? How many first-time visitors will never return because they could not sleep a single night of their very expensive vacation? How many regulars and would-be investors have thrown up their hands in resigned disgust?
How much have the failures of BPL / BEC cost us not just this year – but in the years to come?
For all the desperation many Abaconians feel about these two pressing issues platitudes of “patience” feel hollow and sickening. We have been patient. Yet here we are.
We have a new Sherriff in town. Well, he’s been here before – but he is back now. Kevin Mortimer arrived on Abaco recently to take over the reins from Sgt. Cash. Hopefully with pressing from our Members of Parliament, business leaders, civic organizations and you and me he and his police force will be given the tools they need to give the RBPF some teeth on Abaco. Patience is a high price so we will be looking for results.
BPL’s previous Board of Directors has been rebooted. The current government is auditing BPL and is convinced of malfeasance in the past – hopefully plugging those holes. Legacy debt looms but there is the hope of fresh options on the table – not just for generating power but for ownership structure. Ideas are great but it is obvious here on Abaco we need elbow grease to fix some of these problems. Again we just came off ten days of outages as BPL conducted “tests” at the Wilson City Power Station. Hopefully these tests will yield results. If we are being asked to be patient then there have to be results.
Patience is a virtue. But so is wisdom. So we must be wise in how we demand changes and benchmark improvement.