Whoever is invited by the governor general this week to take the oath of prime minister will be confronted by several complex issues, including pressing environmental, economic and social issues.
As we proceed into the final days of campaigning, mercifully, I would wish to opine on the prospects of continued oil exploration efforts in our pristine waters.
The former Bahamas Petroleum Company was granted several drilling awards by the former Christie administration years ago. They came in and after much opposition from so-called environmentalists and their domestic and international allies, brought in a drilling platform and drilled.
No oil of a viable commercial level was discovered. The company said it expended tens of millions of dollars in that failed exercise.
A whole heap of litigation, from jump street, was commenced.
Frederick Smith, QC, along with the esteemed educator and environmentalist Joseph Darville, et al, were like David against Goliath.
After much back and forth and the importation of UK-based queen’s counsel and other legal eagles, litigation in the main was either resolved or agreements were made.
I advise the incoming administration to place further oil exploration on the proverbial back burner. At this critical juncture and in the midst of efforts to overcome the continued spread of the deadly COVID-19, and a stagnant economy, future oil drilling must be suspended.
It is alleged that a candidate for the PLP, a lawyer, either now represents or used to represent Bahamas Petroleum Company.
The fact that the licenses were granted by the former Christie administration may give comfort to the new entity, but I beg to differ. That lawyer, I understand, is offering for the Brave Davis-led PLP up in Elizabeth.
If she were to be appointed to Cabinet, she would have to recuse herself from any deliberations on oil explorations. There must and will not appear to be any actual or potential conflicts of interest in a Davis administration.
Bahamas Petroleum Company was able to parlay its contracts into raising tens of millions of investors’ dollars on the international financial markets and stock exchanges.
No doubt the executives, my brother Potter, and the Bahamian-based public relations gurus were paid hefty salaries and perks.
They all got what they wanted and now is the time to bring this contentious chapter to a close.
NO MORE OIL EXPLORATION at this time or in the foreseeable future.
— Ortland H. Bodie Jr.