An outspoken legislator has blamed Government for selling its shares in Emera, the Canadian-based parent of the Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BL&P), saying Barbadians are now paying the price with a rash of power cuts.
As the outages severely disrupt life and productivity across the island, Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn said the Mia Mottley administration made a big mistake when it sold its shares in the BL&P.
He told Barbados TODAY this afternoon: “Emera is about itself and profit, it doesn’t care about the people of Barbados.
“They refused to invest in upgrading the [local] company and now they blaming aging equipment for contributing to the power outages.
“They also went and bought the cheapest fuel they could find on the market…even the contaminated one and blaming that too.”
Senator Franklin, General Secretary of the Unity Trade Union contended that the Government should never have put that portion of its interest in the local power firm in the hands of the Canadian energy conglomerate.
He said: “In the same way [Government] bought out Mrs Ram’s [Asha Mirchandani] Liquidation Centre, the Government now needs to rethink its Emera interest.
“It needs to look at ways to repatriate Emera and put back the BL&P in the hands of the people of Barbados.”
Yesterday, the electric company’s managing director, Roger Blackman, told journalists the problem with the outages was mainly due to contamination in the imported oil.
Blackman also said this was compounded by aging generator equipment, half of which is past its “retirement age.”
In 2014, Light & Power Holdings Ltd was renamed Emera (Caribbean) Incorporated (EC) with Emera Inc. of Canada owning 80 per cent of the shares.
Four years earlier, Light & Power Holdings (LPH) had explained that the purchase by Emera was not of shares in LPH, but of the company CI Power which owns LPH share which until then had been owned by US-based Leucadia National Corporation, now known as the Jefferies Financial Corporation.
Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Emera Inc. is a public company trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange which boasts of revenues of more than $6.5 billion and assets of $32 billion in 2018.
Emera primarly invests in regulated electricity generation and electricity and gas transmission and distribution. Its strategic focus is on transformation from high carbon to low carbon energy sources, the company said on its website
It has investments throughout North America and in Grand Bahama, St Lucia, Dominica and Barbados. [email protected]