An oily Christmas in The Bahamas

Dear Editor,

Before 2020 is out, in a matter of weeks, foreign oil interests calling themselves Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), are poised to begin drilling for oil in Bahamian waters.

For those unfamiliar with Bahamian waters, they are hard to see. Why? Well, these waters are hard to see because they are so clear and clean.

Without fresh water rivers and major sources of pollution, the turquoise-tinted waters of The Bahamas are nearly pristine.

The vast bulk of our economy here is driven by the richness, love for, and continued health of these waters.

Looking out from our pink beaches, it is swimming and snorkeling, wading and beach-combing, diving with sharks, along with sport fishing and exploring our crystalline waters which beckon people here from the world over.

Not only that, a sizable portion of our population makes their living as fishermen. Diving up lobster, conch, and fin fish, not only providing our most valued, nutritious and delectable local seafood, but providing thousands of jobs to our people, and our tables with food.

Bonefishing guides, charter boat captains and tour operators all rely upon these unpolluted waters to make their living while employing many of our Family Island natives.

That in today’s day and age, The Bahamas, and the world at large, can allow the oil industry to jeopardize the economy, food sources, livelihoods and the very future of so many people in one of the most threatened island nations in the world is beyond me.

The debate on whether the burning of fossil fuels is good for our planet is over. Isn’t it?

The debate on whether The Bahamas is threatened with extinction by sea level rise is over.  Isn’t it?

The age of medical doctors telling people that smoking cigarettes does not harm their health is over. Isn’t it?

So, how is it that a government that has been to the UN with their hand out for money to combat the effects of climate change can allow this drilling to move forward?

How is it that the Bahamian prime minister, a medical doctor who claims he is “science oriented”, remains silent on this matter while seeking money to combat the effects of climate change from the outside world?

The massive drilling rig, Stena IceMAX is now in the Canary Islands, ready to sail for The Bahamas.

According to Simon Potter, CEO of Bahamas Petroleum Company, “Perseverance #1 is a potentially basin-opening well, with the kind of scale and associated value uplift exposure rarely offered outside of oil majors. At the same time, our activities, in the event of success, have the capacity to be economically transformative for the nation of The Bahamas, and could ultimately contribute billions of dollars in royalty revenues to the national treasury at a time when the dual impact of recent hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard-felt by most Bahamians.”

Potter added, “There’s no financial risk to the government.”

Really, Mr. Potter. No financial risk?

Tell that to the governments and people of the US Gulf Coast communities after the Horizon disaster.

Having written on this matter many times, I am asking for global support in opposing these most foolish activities.

Do I really need to go into what is at stake here? Do I really need to plead my case that drilling for oil in one of the most threatened countries on the planet makes no sense?

Is this not the time for us to expect worldwide support in our fight for our future?

I am asking, not for money, but for a few minutes of your time to address our newspapers, our members of Parliament, our so-called “leaders”, in helping quash this most ill-timed game of Russian roulette.

We have too much to lose here in The Bahamas.

This should not be a “what can I do?” moment, nor is this just an essay. We need everyone’s help.

Take a few minutes to write.


Norman Trabulsy Jr

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