PM: New Oban deal will be in best interest of Bahamians
As negotiations between the government and Oban Energies got underway for an amended heads of agreement, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis insisted yesterday that the government will do what is in the best interest of The Bahamas.
“We would still be doing and assessing what is best in the interest of The Bahamas,” Minnis said following the official opening ceremony of a solar car park at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
He said the government will “ensure that we do all the public investigation, environment impact studies [and] ensure that our environment is protected”.
“Whatever is in the best interest of The Bahamas, it will be done,” he said.
The government met with Oban yesterday after submitting its proposed amendments to the heads of agreement. The agreement is for a $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama and was signed on February 10, 2018.
However, the public was not notified at the time.
The Minnis administration held a signing on February 19 with then Oban Energies Non-Executive Chairman Peter Krieger; it was later called a ceremonial signing.
The government signed the agreement without an environmental impact assessment in place – a major point of contention for environmentalists and others.
Nearly a year ago, Minnis admitted that his government made a series of missteps regarding its deal with Oban Energies in its haste to boost the economy of Grand Bahama.
Several environmentalists and others chastised the government over the deal. The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) said there was no scenario where it would support the deal, noting the overall risk is too great, particularly to the neighboring national parks.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said the government was trying to determine whether the deal is “something that we want to proceed with, in terms of the kind of installation versus maybe considering the touristic elements that are now developing the island”.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish