Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Fate of select committee motions unclear

Glenys Hanna-Martin.

Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday lamented the time it has taken the government to get to agenda items concerning motions for select committees of Parliament to review several key matters, including the Oban Energies project for a more than $5 billion oil refinery and storage facility.

“I believe when you look at the Oban issue and the various situations that have been associated with it, it appears that a select committee is, in terms of a parliamentary procedure, very appropriate,” Hanna-Martin said.

“We have been hoping to get it for at least the last two sittings.

“That has not happened, and there is no firm commitment yet on whether it will even happen at all.

“We need to see what the position is in terms of this thing.

“It would seem to me that in the interest of transparency that it would be agreed to.

“We are expecting by tomorrow to know the government’s position…”

According to Hanna-Martin, there are several irregularities concerning that deal, and it is in the public’s interest to gain a thorough understanding of all that transpired.

Nearly a month ago, Centreville MP Reece Chipman indicated to Parliament that he wanted a select committee of Parliament to investigate what he termed covert, “online falsehoods” or “fake news”, which he said has continued to sabotage democracy in The Bahamas.

It was one of two select committees of Parliament Chipman intends to push for.

At the time, he said he also plans to move a motion for a select committee of Parliament to deal with natural resources of The Bahamas.

On the select committee to deal with the country’s natural resources, Chipman, the former chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments & Museum Corporation (AMMC), said all matters that contribute to the sovereign wealth fund, as well as all entities, historical and current, engaged in extractions, must be investigated.

In February, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said he intended to motion for a select committee of Parliament to review the practices of foreign clearing banks in The Bahamas.

Cooper said after many years of profiting, the banks “are effectively kicking us to the curb”.

The backdrop of his statement was RBC Royal Bank notifying customers in January that, effective March 23, its Robinson Road branch will be consolidated with its Carmichael Road branch; its John F. Kennedy Drive location with its Carmichael Road branch, and effective March 30, its location in Andros Town will be merged with its main Bay Street branch.
Those consolidations have since occurred.

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