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PLP leader urges govt to abandon Oban deal

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis has urged the government to abandon the controversial Oban Energies project.

Davis’ comments came after Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said renegotiations of the heads of agreement for the $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama will start in January.

“That is bad news,” said Davis in a statement on Friday.

“We do not support this project and the matter should be abandoned.

“It will be injurious to the environment in Grand Bahama and of little economic benefit.

“The prime minister still has much to answer for on this policy debacle.

“He presided over this sham of a ceremony, seeking to fool the public.

“To add insult to injury, the education minister, appointed by none other than the prime minister himself, publicly admitted that the government broke the law.

“None of these acts committed in the full glare of the media and the public has been addressed by the prime minister.

“This shows an incredible disrespect for the rule of law and parliamentary convention.”

The government signed an agreement with Oban Energies on February 19 in what was later called a ceremonial signing.

The agreement was signed without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in place and included a lock-in clause that the government cannot terminate the heads of agreement based upon any EIA report.

This was a major point of contention for environmentalists and others.

In March, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis admitted that his government made a series of missteps regarding the deal in its haste to boost the economy of Grand Bahama.

As a result, a subcommittee and technical advisory group was charged with examining the agreement in hopes of increasing the economic benefits for Bahamians and environmental protections.

However, Davis insisted Bahamians want nothing to do with the project.

“Bahamians have lost all confidence in this government concerning this controversial deal, and the public rumblings and din that this is nothing more than a land grab for the FNM oligarchs are deafening,” Davis said.

“Additionally, evidence of adequate funding, the source of the funding, the identity of all of the beneficial owners and the requisite baseline environmental impact assessment have not been satisfactorily provided.

“The FNM must stop misleading and disrespecting the Bahamian people.

“If transparency is the watchword of the FNM, or so they say, then their actions must match their glib public rhetoric.

“Some unsolicited advice to the prime minister: Lose this controversial and scandalous Oban project like a bad habit.”

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Sloan Smith

Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas. Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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