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Impact Of Oban Deal Being Kept Secret

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

By Ava Turnquest

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE environmental impact assessment for the controversial Oban Energies project will not likely be made public until a new heads of agreement is inked, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said yesterday.

Despite this, Mr Foulkes, who co-chairs the Cabinet subcommittee spearheading the Oban review and renegotiations, insisted the government was committed to ensuring transparency and accountability throughout the process.

He told The Tribune he was aware of reports circulating that the project had been scaled down to just an oil storage facility – dropping the oil refinery – however, he said those plans were not communicated to the Cabinet committee.

Mr Foulkes confirmed the government’s negotiating team was set to meet with Oban principals on January 7.

“We are in receipt of the complete EIA for the project,” he said. “The technical people they are reviewing it, and we will go from there. 

“The amended heads of agreement has to come first before we reveal the EIA,” Mr Foulkes said when asked if the report will be made public. 

He continued: “We’re going to be transparent about the whole process. Oban will be accountable at every stage of the way. The prime minister has asked me as the chairman of the committee to keep the public informed every step of the way.

“So there is nothing that’s going to happen unless we have full disclosure. The EIA has already been presented to us, the review of it is a very complicated process, several government agencies, including Town Planning (Committee) and the BEST Commission, certain regulations and laws that have to be complied with.” 

When pressed further, Mr Foulkes said: “But that’s all I am prepared to say at this time. Cabinet has to make decisions every step of the way. I don’t want to preempt or presume what Cabinet will say, but the prime minister wants it to be done thoroughly.”

On the sidelines of a $25,000 donation to Grand Bahama’s Superstar Rockers Junkanoo group on Saturday, Oban Operations Manager Alexander Grikitis revealed the EIA for its $5.5 billion oil storage terminal and refinery project in East Grand Bahama had been completed.

He also said the company is still committed to the country and its people.

“We are looking to show our support and showing we are here to support more jobs, and in the long-term Oban has now completed its EIA for our project,” Mr Grikitis said on Saturday. “We are hoping to get our permitting going in the New Year, and early January we have a meeting with the government.”

The government’s initial agreement with Oban sparked intense criticism, including points of opposition from several environmental organisations that took issue with the lack of an environmental impact assessment, given the project’s risk factors.

The fallout prompted an admission from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis that there were gross missteps in the government process.

Yesterday, Bahamas National Trust Executive Director Eric Carey said his organisation had not yet seen the EIA report, and only learned of the date for the upcoming meeting after reading The Tribune. 

“We’ve not seen it,” Mr Carey said, “we will have a  meeting to discuss it, and we will release a statement.”

Comments

MaryMack53 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sounds like this man is beating around the bush. Just be straightforward and tell the truth. We the people deserve just that!

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Sickened 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You KNOW we aint NEVER going to see that report. Just like the useless PLP!!!

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TheMadHatter 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Correct. As a Bahamian the only "benefit" you get is free ink for ya fingah every 5 years. And that ink don't do you no good. It's the same ink from the last time.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 3 weeks ago

THE environmental impact assessment for the controversial Oban Energies project will not likely be made public until a new heads of agreement is inked, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes said yesterday.

Foulkes is nothing but a tool of Minnis and Minnis has clearly forgotten the solemn promise he made time and time again during the May 2017 general election that his government would be the most transparent one ever consistent with his oath to the people that it would be their time. What a joke!

An even bigger joke is that Minnis (not Oban) insisted a clause be included in the latest letter of intent and draft heads of agreement that would require the environment impact assessment (that was paid for by Oban) be kept confidential. LMAO

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Forget if Oban this or Oban not much that. Yes or no, is it just me or does you too not steer deeply at picture this particular comrade member Imperial red crown and not be tempted asks the question...... Since obviously he's not looking likes he could be from among the transplanted we colony islands African slaves - then what hell is he..... possibly some sorts 'lick' leftover from we indigenous people...... cause the man's sure is some kinds original but strange soul. Yes or no?

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stislez 8 months, 3 weeks ago

So how y'all committed to transparency but the public won't see the thing till it done sign??????? That's a contradiction sir....

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The mere mention among comrade Grand Bahamalanders and Abacions, anything 2022 Imperial red wave - will quickly send you on your way with smerky chuckle. Yes, No?

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