Make Oban amendments public, Davis says
The government should make public its proposed amendments to the Oban Energies heads of agreement, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday.
“I would have thought that that they should be made public as soon as possible,” Davis said.
“As I said to you, and I continue to repeat, I am concerned about the negotiating skills of this government and the persons they may appoint to negotiate on their behalf.
“Their record has been dismal.
“I suspect that if they have, in fact, moved to suggest amendments to this agreement, that those amendments, I trust, adjust to the benefit of the Bahamian people and to the benefit of a sustainable environment.”
Davis’ comments came as talks started between the government and Oban Energies executives over the proposed amendments to the heads of agreement for a $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes and lead negotiator for the government Loren Klein yesterday met with Oban executives, including Oban President Alexander Grikitis, at the Ministry of Labour at Charlotte House.
Davis, who was outside Charlotte House, said, “Well, I hope they come to the right decisions.
“I’m always concerned when members of this Cabinet are discussing and negotiating on behalf of the Bahamian people.
“Their track record in negotiating on behalf of Bahamian people has been dismal, and, so, I am concerned about that meeting and what it would produce.
“But at the end of the day, as I have indicated, this matter has been so fraught with challenges, I hope they are just sitting down to decide to bring an end to all of these speculations and negotiate their way out of this.
“There’s no doubt that from a read of the memorandum of understanding that they have signed that it is a binding arrangement, unless they can demonstrate that the parties on the [other] side somehow misrepresented things to them.
“Otherwise, I think the negotiation ought to be, how do they escape liability for what they have done by signing that agreement.”
The government signed the agreement with Oban Energies in February 2018 but later committed to reviewing it amid public furor.
The government’s agreement with Oban was signed without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in place, which garnered a lot of public criticism.
The current heads of agreement with Oban states that the government does not have an option to kill the deal based on anything the EIA concludes, but must work with Oban to address any concerns raised by the study.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications