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Oil Licences Spark Debate

ALL five of Bahamas Petroleum Company's oil exploration licences were renewed last week until 2015 according to the company - under terms mandating that drilling begins within a year.

According to BPC's website, the renewal came into effect on April 27 and the terms include a commitment to "spud an exploration well" by April 26, 2013.

"The next renewal of the licences, due to take place on 27 April 2015, is contingent on the company having met its drilling and expenditure obligations during the current three year period," the website says.

This comes after PLP leader Perry Christie promised that if elected next Monday, his government will not allow oil drilling without gaining the consent of the public through a national referendum.

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PLP leader Perry Christie holding his party's Charter.

The PLP has been under fire for its connection to BPC, which used Mr Christie's consultancy services in the past, through the company's legal representative, the law firm of deputy leader Philip "Brave" Davis.

PLP candidate Jerome Gomez was also the oil company's manager in the Bahamas.

However, Mr Christie has denied he is still connected to BPC in any way, and threatened to sue over claims he is still a paid consultant of the company.

As for the FNM, although BPC claims the governing party did indeed renew its licences last week, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has repeatedly said no drilling for oil will take place in Bahamian territory until regulations and environmental safeguards are in place.

He said: "The approval of drilling for oil in the pristine waters of The Bahamas is among the most momentous decisions that any Government of The Bahamas will ever have to make."

Mr Ingraham called it a decision with wide ramifications that will affect the "very nature and essence of who we are as a country."

He said a government led by him "will not agree to any drilling for oil in the Bahamas until all necessary and appropriate regulations are in place and until we are fully and competently in a position to regulate such activity" in a way that protects the environment.

The Prime Minister said: "I am not unmindful of what happened in the Gulf off the coast of Louisiana just two years ago. And certainly we do not have the resources, human or financial, nor the billet, to respond as the United States government responded.

"We are not now in a position to so regulate and oversee drilling operations in our waters. My greatest obligation is to do what I think is the right thing to do at any given time to protect the best interests of you, the Bahamian people, and that of future generations."

Calls to BPC's Nassau headquarters were not answered and Environment Minister Earl Deveaux could not be reached before press time last night.

Comments

TalRussell 2 years, 7 months ago

If you're one of the few natives that still believe anything this FNM regime says then you couldn't possibly agree with me that there is legitimate reasons to say to this FNM PM and his wretched FNM regime, still time to come clean with the natives before General Elections Day ...cause we the natives don't know the behind the scenes arrangements you have going on over the risky business of drilling for oil in our tourism's financial lifeblood waters? . PM surly you wouldn't want even your own FNM's to vote for your FNM regime if what you're saying ain't the truth? PM you’re in power now, and contrary to what you want the natives to believe it is not your former, trusted law partner Prime Minister Christie who just renewed the oil licenses. PM the natives may be restless but are not Asses! Well, PM if we cant take your regime at its word and we don’t have the secret documents you hold to pour over then wouldn’t it be a tragedy built upon lie after lie if somehow your FNM regime wins another five long years in power?

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C_MonMan 2 years, 7 months ago

Like they say in poker, BPC goes "All in" and in essence has converted it's legal position with respect to their belief that once certain condition precedents are met their licence renewal is automatic to a political position. I predict the government would refute renewing such licences momentarily and then BPC would have successfully foisted itself front and center in these elections.

Don't know who is advising them, but my guess is that they are hoping that this upsets the equilibrium and make a PLP victory more likely. For their sake, they better hope that they are right.

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TalRussell 2 years, 7 months ago

@ C_MonMan are you one to believe the FNM's "public" stand on oil drilling? This PM is grasping at every political straw to close the deal against the one man he fears most, his former, trusted law partner Prime Minister Christiie. This PM comes with pretty campaign stuff but once it is examined it quickly turns into loads of crap. Strange don't you think he has never talked anything during the campaign about his pet project of selling BTC to foreigners. You know the one that he wanted so badly for the foreigners they he actually stood in the House to threaten his own damn FNM MP's into voting for the sale or face an instant General Election. Comrade when you have nothing left in your campaign arsenal than to insult the dead and his wife, man you know you're about to go down on General Election Day. This is the same man who has brought our Bahamaland's economy to all but a standstill, having to fund soup lines to the tone of $10 million in the past 12 months. If i was Christie I would hold the biggest PLP rally ever seen in Abaco, and invite him to show up on stage to debate his former, trusted law partner. Get ready to park your damn government limo, like you made the dying Pindling park his.

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spoitier 2 years, 7 months ago

Whomever wins the election they will drill for oil, everyone is just trying to play both sides of the field, there is a lot at stake here and the Bahamas is so much of a servant to the U.S or China that even if they don't want to do it, they will more than likely be force too. It is not a bad decision anyway because if Cuba drill and sometime happens the Bahamas will still get poluted so you might as well get the benefit if the risk is still present.

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