Algonquin must practise what it preaches
The Bermuda Clean Air Coalition is relieved that no one was hurt during the sudden power outage on Friday. Since the disruption, we have heard statements from the regulator, from Belco and from various politicians about the potential threats that the outage posed to human life.
We want to remind everyone that the residents who live in the shadows of Belco suffer daily threats to their lives from never-ending pollution. They have been and continue to be greatly impacted by the ongoing issues, causing significant damage and disruption to their lives. We again call on local authorities, regulatory bodies and our lawmakers to tighten the legislation and the regulations governing Belco so that this foreign-owned for-profit company stops creating such a nuisance to the public and is held responsible for its actions.
The BCAC has repeatedly suggested and public figures have echoed our calls for Belco to cover the costs of electricity, clean water, air filtration and the cleaning of roofs, water tanks and other property, along with covering the health expenses of impacted residents. Everyone knows this is what a morally responsible utility company should do in a First World country when it is heavily polluting a community.
After all, Algonquin Power, the Canadian parent company of Liberty and Belco, makes all sorts of declarations on its website about being “committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water and energy, and encouraging good health and wellness and fostering a positive safety culture that promotes ownership, accountability and care”. The BCAC is yet to see evidence of Algonquin’s claims being delivered here in Bermuda.
Bermudians know all too well that “talk is cheap”, and at the moment here in Bermuda, Belco, Liberty and Algonquin Power are failing miserably with their mission-statement goals, which according to its website says, “Our mission is to deliver clean energy and water solutions that create better everyday lives and inspire our communities, is what drives us every day to accomplish our purpose.”
The BCAC believes that if this situation was not so unbelievably ironic it would be a joke. Should Algonquin Power ever want to be taken seriously in Bermuda, it needs to start practising what it preaches to its overseas investors.
It is the BCAC’s hope that Algonquin and Liberty will start putting their money where their mouth is and fulfil their own good governance policies which, according to their own website is to “view good governance practices as an essential element in the pursuit of positive and balanced outcomes for our business, our workforce, our shareholders and our communities.”
Local Belco executives in Bermuda continue to get an “F” grade and the company has a great deal of work to do before it fulfils its parent companies’ “mission statements”.
Belco’s management team must be held accountable and government authorities bear a lot of responsibility for allowing this tragedy to happen over generations. The Government needs to sort out this truculent company once and for all, and put Belco and its executives on a pathway that stops them from continuing to harm our community, all in the name of corporate profits for their foreign pay masters.
DENISE RIVIERE, DANIELLA RIVIERE, THAD MURDOCH
Bermuda Clean Air Coalition
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