MP James Albury, accompanied by Island Administrator Charles Moss, held a public Town Meeting on Man-O-War on July 27, 2017. This follows the mandate to all Members of Parliament by Prime Minister Minnis that MPs are to hold constituency meetings quarterly.
Extensive discussion by the 25 to 30 persons attending centered on the shortcomings of Bahamas Power and Light. Technicians always go to MOW but repairs are a temporary patchwork intended to be better repaired later but normally that does not happen. It was felt that there is enough work to justify a resident BPL technical to reside on the island. Wires remain on the ground and are covered with gravel to hide them. Rotten poles are still in place. The old original power plant remains derelict and is a visual mess. A transformer remains on the ground on a pallet with unprotected wires. It was said that the redundant loop bringing power to Man-O-War is not functioning. Visitors in rental homes are discouraged with no power and are leaving the island. Standby generators for home use are generally too expensive for every household to have one.
Mr. Albury stated that the new management of BPL is now in place and will examine electrical issues countrywide. German technicians are on Abaco working with a Nassau team at the Wilson City plant to identify the problems. Much of the trouble is thought to be a result of the patch-work distribution system due to incremental upgrades over the years rather than an initial unified distribution system.
Because of numerous complaints by customers complaining that their appliances are being destroyed by power issues, the Utility Regulation and Competition Authority, URCA, may be invited for a community presentation on consumers’ rights on losses due to electrical issues.
The group felt that a school principal is needed, but they are getting the standard reply of “we are working on it” which is the same answer as in previous years. Administrator Moss stated that the country is suffering from a shortage of teachers everywhere,
A nurse has been identified for the Man-O-War clinic and will be in residence soon. Questions about the mini-hospital in Marsh Harbour disclosed that it is now open although without optimal staff, but doctors are in residence on the property.
It was asked if the government dock at Crossing Beach in Marsh Harbour could have the ladders repaired. The government dock is the historical dock in Marsh Harbour for residents from Man-O-War and Elbow Cay.
Other concerns were the need to have traffic signs on Man-O-War streets as the visitors don’t know which are the main streets and so drive their carts with abandonment.
The loss of banking services is stifling the island’s economy.
Crime and boat thefts are looming problems that need to be addressed.