WITH the Bahamas Petroleum Company fulfilling all its required licence and regulatory obligations for another three year licence, FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis called on Prime Minister Perry Christie yesterday to find the “testicular fortitude” and make a decision with regards to the licensing of offshore oil drilling without having to “pass the buck” to the Bahamian people via a national referendum.
Highlighting that nearly 75 per cent of the Bahamian workforce is related to Tourism, Dr Minnis said that his party remains concerned about the prospects of BPC and the possible impact a spill in Bahamian
waters would have on the nation’s number one industry.
“We have serious concerns about the environment and where are the regulations that would protect us if an accident were to occur. Where
are the regulations with respect to how any proceeds from this venture would be handled? And what are we going to do with the money? That
money, and that oil belongs to the people. It should be protected for future generations. And the people should have a say in what is done with it,” Dr Minnis said.
The Free National Movement’s leader also questioned whether or not Mr Christie ever returned the consultancy fees that he admitted receiving from BPC.
“We demand that the Government immediately disclose whether or not the law firm of Davis & Co. or any other law firm owned by a PLP cabinet minister or parliamentarian (still) acts on behalf of BPC.
“We remind Mr Christie that the most precious resources we have, apart from our people, are marine, touristic and fisheries resources. They
should not be recklessly endangered, and the FNM will not permit potentially compromised decision-making, and lax regulatory oversight of oil drilling to compromise and endanger the well-being of Bahamian fishermen, hoteliers and communities,” Dr Minnis said.
With regards to the upcoming referendum on oil drilling, Dr Minnis challenged the Prime Minister to make up his own mind on the issue and act – and not pass the buck to the Bahamian public, as he, and his PLP party were elected to govern.
“Christie is revoking his responsibility to govern and is passing the buck. You were voted in to make a decision. So make a decision. You are vicitimizing people left, right and centre. You didn’t ask me
about that. You can’t be a government of referendum. Being in government means you have to make decisions. He is copping out. I wonder if he has the testicular fortitude to make tough decisions,” he
In fact, the FNM said that if Mr Christie and his government were so “frightened to lead” that they should hold a referendum on their governance thus far and allow the Bahamian people to vote on that.
“Have a referendum on whether or not we made a mistake in putting you there. If we vote ‘Yes’, then go,” he exclaimed.