UPDATE 09/04/2020: For Dr. Minnis’ Statement, please visit this page.
STELLAR ENERGY: THE UNTOLD TRUTH AND THE FINAL RECKONING.
March 31st, 2020.
The Stellar Energy LOI saga has been widely reported on in various national print and televised media forums in the Bahamas since it first commenced in 2014 on the back of a major political scandal during the tenure of the former PLP government, a fact which is representative of the general public importance that a case of this kind carries.
What has been alleged particularly against Mr. Renward Wells, in his then capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, in addition to Messrs Algernon Allen and Frank Forbes, in their respective capacities as “agents” of the government, strikes at the very heart of the principle of the responsibility of State actors, in this case the Ministry of Works, for the acts and/or omissions of their servants, agents and/or representatives.
Stellar Energy maintains that all parties concerned were acting either under the actual or the purported authority of the Bahamas government at the material time in question and the Letter of Intent, irrespective of the opinions expressed by the Honorable Deputy Registrar in her Ruling, must therefore be given its legal contractual effect.
For the sake of providing the public with clarity on the background of this matter, the record reflects that the parties, which included Stellar Energy, its Bahamian subsidiary and the Bahamas government, were in detailed talks over the development of a waste to energy project on the Island of New Providence from November 2012. As a result of these talks and following a process of due diligence which Stellar Energy fully complied with, the parties reached a formal agreement that Stellar Energy would secure the necessary financing to construct and operate a fully integrated Waste to Energy project, which was to be specifically focused on resolving the human waste landfill issues in the capital New Providence.
Acting in his then capacity as Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Works, and with the knowledge and full authority of the Bahamas government, Mr. Renward Wells duly executed a detailed Letter of Intent which Stellar Energy maintains is a valid legal contract which is enforceable in law. Stellar Energy and its Bahamian subsidiary acted in full reliance upon the innumerable oral and written representations made to them by the parties to the action, both prior to and subsequent to the execution of the Letter of Intent, hence the claim of breach of constructive contract. The Board wishes to stress to the public its contention that the resultant Political scandal and public dismissal of Mr. Renward Wells from his then position as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works was due directly to the refusal of the former PLP government to honour the terms of the contractual agreement which its representatives duly executed with Stellar Energy, whilst acting under full authority.
The political scandal Stellar Energy maintains was a contrived one due to an acknowledgement on the then PLP government’s part of its contractual liability under the Letter of Intent, and with the intention to limit the potential damage to the government by denying that its Parliamentary Secretary had acted with authority.
The fact is that the actions of the Bahamas government in the present matter simply do not represent Best Business Practices and neither do they encourage any confidence amongst prospective investors. These investors may find themselves in a similar position to Stellar Energy, having expended huge sums of capital in reliance upon what under normal circumstances should be considered to be a contract with a national government and one that will be honoured.
Stellar Energy has been left in all these circumstances with no choice but to exercise its legal rights before the Courts in this jurisdiction.
THE GROWING BAHAMAS LANDFILL CRISIS, WHEN IS IT GOING TO END?
The fact is that both the previous administration and the present government have failed to provide an adequate and practicable solution to the human waste landfill issues which have plagued the island of New Providence for many years.
The present state of affairs represents a serious public health concern for the nation and Stellar Energy has remained willing and able, despite the circumstances, to provide a viable waste to energy solution to the citizens of the Bahamas. The current systems in place for waste disposal up to the national level are outdated and inadequate and therefore fail to remediate what is a very serious issue that is capable of compromising the wellbeing of future generations with no chance of reversing the damage already done to the Islands.
The waste management plans of the current Minnis administration initially envisaged a waste to energy plant, as comprising part of an RFP where Stellar Energy’s legal claim was not disclosed as a caveat to the ultimate 17 participants.
All three shortlisted groups had proposed waste to energy plant solutions, which have been widely reported as being a crucial element for the economic viability of any waste management project.
Despite these steps being taken, it appears that none of the government’s plans have gone ahead and that the impetus for a waste to energy remediation “mountain” has gradually become a mere waste management “mole hill”– and an expensive one for the Bahamas taxpayer to assume.
Stellar Energy has proposed practical solutions to the past and present governments, at little to no cost to the taxpayer. The Company’s vision has always been to resolve the serious waste management issues, which currently plague the country, and by building a Waste to Energy Plant in New Providence which would both produce electricity for the Bahamas at rates of up to 40% lower than the current ones and eradicate the existing landfill in less than 5 years.
Despite the company’s best intentions and efforts to deliver this vision, it has been denied this opportunity by the decision makers in this country who have themselves not found a solution.
THE FIGHT TO ESTABLISH THE TRUTH AND ACHIEVE JUSTICE GOES ON.
The most recent Ruling issued by the Honorable Deputy Registrar on March 8th 2019, had been pending since June of 2018 and whilst the Board of Stellar Energy expresses its general disappointment with the content of the Ruling and decisions reached, it has nonetheless elected to exercise its rights to appeal the said Ruling to the Court of Appeal.
The Board therefore announced at the time that it has instructed its new local Counsel, at the firm of Ayse Rengin Dengizer Johnson & Co. to advance the present appeal against the ruling and with the filing into the record affidavits which outline very serious and fully documented allegations against the past PLP administration, which includes Mr. Wells in his former capacity and by extension, the current administration.
As already stated, this is a matter of general public importance and there is an obligation therefore to provide detail and shed light on all that has transpired here to the public so that they can make informed decisions.
Contrary to the statements and declarations of Counsel Gregory K. Moss, Attorney acting for the Honorable Renward Wells in the subject Civil action, Stellar Energy Limited and Stellar Waste to Energy Limited wish to inform and assure the public of their commitment to continuing in this fight for justice.
It appears that Mr. Wells is only too keen to be exonerated from the legal proceedings in order to avoid the embarrassment of a public trial where his past role in the LOI saga and possible involvement in what is deemed to be a conspiracy to extort and circumvent jointly with Mr Allen and Mr Forbes, would be fully probed and exposed under strict cross-examination: a prospect likely to compromise his promising political career as well as embarrass his boss and mentor the Hon. Dr. Minnis, who at the material time made ample political capital out of the LOI controversy, only to accept Mr. Wells to his own party and cabinet and, it is widely believed, nurture him for his succession.
Instructions were given to the Attorneys prior to the referenced withdrawal, to proceed with parallel applications in order to rectify some of the technical issues raised by respective Counsel for the Respondents and to seek Discovery of various documents which have been withheld from the Plaintiffs to date. Following the recent Court Hearing of 3 March 2020, before the Honorable Madam Justice G. Diane Stewart, the Attorney General’s Office was informed that the action is still extant as against the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, despite their arguments to the contrary, and they are as such obliged to finally submit their long outstanding applications to strike out the Plaintiffs Cause of Action . A hearing has been fixed for May 22nd 2020 and Stellar Energy fully intends to institute a fresh appellate process before the Court of Appeal in the event of any judicial ruling which is not to the satisfaction of the Plaintiffs.
With regard to the present facts, it should be clear that this matter is certainly not “finished” in any sense of the word and is rather beginning afresh, in view of the Plaintiff’s outstanding applications for Discovery, Amendment and Extension of the time limit to appeal, concerning the 1 st, 4th and 5th Defendants and a clear appellate route all the way to the Privy Council, as it concerns the 2nd and 3rd Defendants.
The Plaintiffs are therefore not inclined to allow “technicalities” to extinguish what are sound claims against the Government of the Bahamas for breaches of the aforesaid Letter of Intent, which they maintain was executed by the Honorable Renward Wells, with the full authority of the then PLP administration. The Letter of Intent itself pertains to a waste to energy project which was intended to address issues of grave public importance, i.e. adequate and continual supply of energy in the capital and reduction of excess waste and pollution in the capital.
Given what we have all seen in recent months regarding the repeated failures of BPL to maintain an adequate system of electrical supply in New Providence, this case becomes a matter of public interest and it should rightly be a matter of public concern. It is a most fundamental obligation of any government to ensure that it’s citizens have access at all times in the absence of natural disaster or war, to a continued supply of electricity and other basic utilities.
We have not seen that obligation fulfilled by the present administration during the course of the preceding months from last year to the present and that fact has to be looked at in the context of cases like Stellar Energy Limited’s, which seek to challenge the purported illegitimate actions of a national government, that have gone contrary to their legal undertakings under the L.O.I., but moreover if left unchecked, can have a highly negative effect on general investor confidence in the Bahamas as a whole.
In any event and irrespective of the outcome of the continuation of Court proceedings, ultimately the evidence available in support of Stellar Energy’s allegations will be disclosed since it is in the public interest and will ensure the establishment of good governance and transparency.
The message is a very simple one, where there are founded allegations of malfeasance, negligence or any other unauthorised acts, by parties who hold high office (i.e. Ministers of Government, Permanent Secretary representing Ministries and the like), they can never be simply set aside and/or abandoned on the basis of technicalities. Public interest dictates otherwise and in this regard Stellar Energy Limited and her sister company are fully prepared to litigate this matter all the way to the Privy Council if the same becomes necessary.
The fight to establish the Truth and achieve Justice continues as it must.
WHEN IS IT GOING TO END?
July 2nd, 2019.
This press release is provided for information purposes only. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.
Nassau, Bahamas – Stellar Waste to Energy (Bahamas) Ltd
(‘Stellar Energy’) today wishes to issue the following statement in order to properly inform the concerned citizens of New Providence and the wider public of The Bahamas, as it regards the Government’s failed strategy on waste to energy management: a strategy which has involved the appointment of a company, New Providence Ecology Park (“NPEP”), that appears not to have the requisite technical knowledge or experience to manage the landfill crisis plaguing the Nation.
No positive changes have been seen to date and the fact is that the landfill crisis remains an urgent public health and environmental concern for the Government of the Bahamas and a blind spot, which has not been given the necessary attention in policy making. Various reports issued by the previously mentioned company, NPEP, currently engaged by the Government, have failed to reassure the public on the specifics of their Waste Management and Remediation plans, save for references to the involvement of a Canadian land fill expert, and vague indications that fundraising has started in earnest.
This must be viewed in striking contrast to the more flamboyant statements made on the occasion of the appointed company’s (Providence Advisors/Waste Resources Development Group) initial research contract back in August 2018, which included a number of assurances that have not been fulfilled to date. To place this matter into context, in 2013 Stellar Energy presented a comprehensive and practical waste to energy proposal to the Government, which offered to provide a permanent solution to the problem.
The opportunity then presented to the Government by Stellar’s proposal was not taken advantage of and since then the Government has given up talking about the very much needed Waste to Energy Plant, despite the obvious financial and environmental benefits for the Bahamian people.
These benefits would entail the creation of affordable electricity, job creation and additional employment opportunities for Bahamians and crucially, the elimination of the excess land fill waste. The Government, on behalf of the Bahamian people, should have a number of pressing questions for the appointed company (Providence Advisors/Waste Resources Development Group, via their joint venture New Providence Ecology Park), concerning the viability of its business plan, the sustainability of its operations, and reassurances that waste volumes will be maximized for recycling with no increase of tipping fees.
The Government should also be prepared to provide clarity on the issue of whether it intends to provide public subsidies. All these factors come into consideration when one looks at the issues as a whole and they require urgent public consultation and explanation, to ensure the same standard of transparency and disclosure that the current administration ostensibly advocates.
The record does reflect that the executives of Stellar Energy submitted a proposal to the then PLP Government which incorporated the latest technology intended to eradicate the New Providence landfill problem completely and give to the people of the Bahamas a means to generate cheap and eco-friendly electricity with the added bonus of local job creation.
The failure from the present government to act is severely compromising both public health and the environmental quality of New Providence Island and by extension the whole country. The fact is that the solution is present and readily available, however the Government refuses to consider its implementation, thereby compromising the environmental future of its people.
Stellar Energy has maintained a vigorous legal challenge to the Government and its agents, which has now progressed to the Court of Appeal. It is hoped that through this process, further light will be shed on the claimed irregularities and possible abuses of power which have taken place and which it is Stellar Energy’s intention to expose.
STELLAR ENERGY MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE OF THE BAHAMAS
“ Our team proposed to the government in 2013 a world-class project, on time and within budget, to solve the landfill crisis. Renward Wells rightly admitted by breaking his silence in late November 2014, that he signed the Letter of Intent, for the “good of the people”.CEO of Stellar Energy
The present Cabinet should make a move now, and act urgently to safeguard the future livelihood and the prospects of the Bahamian people. As part of its unwavering commitment to find the best and most effective waste management solution available, Stellar Energy had identified a truly worldwide waste to energy technical and financing consortium ready, willing and able to solve this crisis.
Such a solution, originally proposed back in 2013, entailed no cost for the Bahamian Government or the taxpayer, and provided an unique opportunity for Bahamians to become shareholders and owners in this project. With this fact in mind, we invite the Government of the Bahamas to act in the best interests of its citizens, and revisit this most pressing issue.