Parliamentary Representative for St George North Gline Clarke today expressed the view that the domestic energy sector should have been fully liberalized during the last seven years.
Speaking as the House of Assembly debated the Electric Light and Power (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Clarke said even though oil prices had dropped significantly on the world market, prices for the Barbadian consumer remained relatively high.
“I wonder, since the price of oil has dropped on the world market, if the customers in Barbados are benefiting,” the Opposition MP said.
“I think that the whole notion of monopolies in the country should be examined. I think the Government should look at these monopolies over the next couple of weeks. I am saying that within the Caribbean and Latin American countries, these monopolies still maintain dominant positions and are making huge profits. The Barbados Light & Power Company is still seen as a monopoly.”
Referring to the announcement by Acting Prime Minister Richard Sealy that the legislation governing the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) would be upgraded, Clarke expressed the hope that it would not be a case of reversing the hands of the clock.
Chiding Sealy for heaping praise on the BL&P, Clarke noted that over the past 100 years of operations, the company had made substantial profits.
Referring to a recent notice that was circulated indicating that the company was about to layoff workers, Clarke sought Government’s position on the issue.
He also complained there were still too many areas in Barbados without proper lighting.
Noting that during his tenure as Minister of Transport and Works the bill for street lighting was in the region of $5 million annually and could have risen substantially since that time, he stressed that since Barbados was a tourist destination better lighting should be provided.
Clarke also addressed the issue of oil exploration in Barbados’ territorial waters, condemning Government’s lack of action over the past seven years in this area.