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Senator 'Greatly Concerned' About Oban Energies Hoa Clause

PLP Senator Dr Michael Darville.

PLP Senator Dr Michael Darville.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Minister for Grand Bahama and PLP Senator Dr Michael Darville is very concerned about a clause in the Heads of Agreement signed with Oban Energies that allows the proposed oil refinery project to continue despite the findings of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

He noted that the site of the proposed project is in “an environmentally sensitive area” in East Grand Bahama.

The Minnis government tabled the HOA it signed with Oban in the House of Assembly on Thursday. The project has already been met with controversy since revelations about Oban’s frontman Peter Krieger’s past issues with the SEC emerged into the spotlight.

Dr Darville, a former PLP cabinet minister and MP, believes that the clause should have been excluded from the HOA. He believes that signing an HOA before an EIA is putting the cart before the horse.

“In browsing the HOA tabled yesterday, I understand that this issue with the EIA is of concern. I would say clearly that the people of GB will not stand by and allow a project in East Grand Bahama to destroy the environment that is so necessary for the survival of this entire island,” he said.

“I have great concern about it (the clause). I do not think it should be included in the HOA. I always say it is not good to put the cart before the horse. And I think in this particular case, the government should have done their due diligence to ensure that the EIA was adequate for the proposed site rather than going the opposite way.

“They will definitely have major criticisms because of that clause. And to backpedal now to try to figure it out could mean litigation or some issues for the government to try to pull out of the deal,” said Dr Darville.

Dr Darville says he has been following the matter with Oban very carefully since the announcement by the Prime Minister about the project for East Grand Bahama.

“I can say that I have some concerns that stem back from the time when I had the opportunity to meet with representatives of Oban’s Technical team,” said the former minister for Grand Bahama.

Senator Darville indicated that he visited the proposed site which is near Stat Oil when working closely with Carnival for a Heads of Agreement for a cruise port in that area.

“What we found is that there are some sensitive water aquifers under the ground that is very important for the longevity of water supply for the entire island of Grand Bahama,” he said.

“So any project that would go into that area must satisfy these environmental concerns. And so, the site that was proposed under our administration was in close proximity to Stat Oil, and there were some sensitive issues there,” said Dr Darville.

The PLP Senator was also concerned that all requirements are met, stressing that proof of funding for the project is critical to meet the expectations underlined in the HOA.

However, he warned that government must keep in mind the past experience in dealing with issues at BORCO and the industrial sector in Grand Bahama.

Dr Darville said that even though things may not be very obvious, there is always subsidiary environmental issues that affect people, including the wind shift and problems of contamination of groundwater.

“For years the people of Pinder’s Point, Lewis Yard, and Mack Town have complained of environmental impacts that such a facility of that nature would have in their community,” he said.

Dr Darville says that he is all for growth and development for Grand Bahama.

“I believe GB is the industrial capital of the Bahamas. If it was not for industry, I think our economy would have been worse off than it is today.

“When I was the minister I pushed very aggressively for growth and development in the industrial sector and looked for companies that would operate oil storage facilities on the island – it is a perfect location for it.”

“BORCO at any particular time will have 21 million barrels of crude oil from all over the world. We understand the business and have been in the business for many years and learn how to operate in a fragile environment. But I would not have signed the HOA without doing the EIA to ensure the project would be viable, and safety protocols necessary to protect our environment in that sensitive area,” Dr Darville said.

Comments

John 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Again the question is asked ‘ Where is the benefit in this deal to the Bahamian people?’ Six hundred jobs and a $100.000 for all the safety risks, definite pollution to air, land and sea, and the potential health hazard to residents as was the case when BORCO refined oil on the island. Not even a case of 25 cents on each barrel or oil refined and exported. Minnis fell down big time on this one. And with the nature of the people involved, this has the potential to be far worse than the Bah Mar debacle. Why did Minnis rush to sign. These clowns waited 25 years. Would a few more days matter?

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Porcupine 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I think for the good of this country, Minnis must go. He should not be allowed to harm this country any further. I have spoken to many people about this. We were so eager to be rid of the PLP.......................... I don't think many of us knew how stupid, yes stupid, Hubert Minnis is proving to be. We need to rid ourselves of this fool.

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John 6 months, 2 weeks ago

In most cities and countries industries, like factories and refineries are taxed based on the amount of pollution, including noise, they create. That way as a trade off the countries or cities can at least have money to build schools, hospitals and streets. So why are the retards in this country still in the habit of giving things away to foreigners? And since these clowns have to go to the public to raise funds, Minnis could at least require 1/2 to one Billion be put on the local mark to share between private shareholders and the government. But doubtful now that anyone would touch it knowing the nature of these people, Minnis must now get the country’s fair share of taxes.

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Chucky 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Hi John

In an ideal world , it would be that way. The OBAN deal is a typical deal. Big business, especially oil or energy always gets a pass. this is nothing new. I don't know why Minnis accepted this , but in the rest of the world there exists a path for these types of companies to obtain rubber stamp approvals and be scrutinized by laws with no teeth. That path is paved by donations / bribes / handouts / kickbacks and promise of a future seat as a board of directors member.

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joeblow 6 months, 2 weeks ago

As with all deals concessions are expected, but not one that has the potential to adversely affect every other industry in the country. One oil related catastrophe could destroy tourism, fisheries etc. That is madness!

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John 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"That path is paved by donations / bribes / handouts / kickbacks and promise of a future seat as a board of directors member. "

So which of the above you suggesting Minnis got? After all his mandate to the Bahamian people is to stamp out corruption.

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TalRussell 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma Comrades, somebody should considering serious implications case puts in a call to Colombo.
The signature Krieger got lost,switched, liquid papered, removed or errased in the walk from the Churchill Building to the People's Honourable House of Assembly?
There's all kinds of rotten stuff that could have happens from one sitting People's Honourable House of Assembly from one Wednesday session to the next session - when MP's meets discuss nation's business.
Question, how are the people to now trust that the government did not make other material changes to the Agreement... is it really the same wording as one Kreiger's signature? The public must see the original document bearing Kreiger's signature. {Ma Comrades, you has knows this is not made up, right... but maybe not so fast?}}

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bogart 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Despite the best plans even EIAs many projects have challenges...take fer instance the Abaco Cooperstown 40m Harbour project after construction was underway blue hole was discovered stalling project but Bahamians solutions found, look at the Abaco ChestrThompdon airport that the tower was built withoit electricals and the runway was still too short...look at the extension of Kellys island and and he sand washed away from Saunders beach an solution groins put in to preserve Saunders beach, ....look at the Eleuthera airport that sand and pebbles was affecting jet engines...look at the delays still in the Fishing hole bridge...look at the delay in the econd bridge going to CoB Nothrn campus where the QC complained over the designer .....all projects have challenges...in this case .its the investors money being used...on this project the govt still has the right to stop it.....I say lets give it a try...when yinna na hav mammy yinna hav to settle fer grammy....not a case of the glass half full or empty....it plain broke up an empty.....chillren needs food....people are hungry...for jobs...

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sheeprunner12 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Can't wait to see how they will solve the Glass Window Bridge challenge

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TalRussell 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma Comrades this is like your spouse comes home sprungs on you they just sold the family home and after you say what the fuc# - they're sweet enough let you on on they sold it for NOTHING.This is even a more grotesque expression of the red shirts true meaning of, It's the People's time.... stupid!
A case just liquid papering the principal signature to the agreement or some conditions too afraid share House? It is the governor general who holds royal power to summon the prime minister and his entire Imperial red cabinet up to Mount Fitzwilliam to explain the signature switcheroo.

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DillyTree 6 months, 2 weeks ago

As much as I'm not a fan of Mr. Darville, I agree with him on this one. Oban offers the Bahamas nothing, but a polluted and toxic waste dump. Have a look a the refinery in St. Croix and see the track record there. Hundreds of millions in clean-up costs -- and guess who has to pay for it!?! (Hint - not the offenders) Do we want this for the Bahamas for a few jobs?

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bogart 6 months, 2 weeks ago

There is nothing that Bahamians cannot do successfully if we put our heads together and do it!!!

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John 6 months, 2 weeks ago

So is Oban fronting for one of the Big Three to get a better deal from the Bahamas/

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joeblow 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Personally, I am tired of hearing from PLP politicians. They had a chance to turn this country around and what they did was the civil equivalent of repeated marital rape and domestic abuse. They should all be hiding in shame!

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licks2 6 months, 2 weeks ago

What a buncha "pinheads". . . yall mussie never been anywhere aye? Them USA and Ca them had oil refinary "in they house" for over a hundred of years. . .all with good safety records. . .Lol!

Yinna will shot ya mar them down if they say they like Doc them. . .all the while yinna economy risings for the first time since 2008. . .unemployment low, crime down, the big three are on the front burner. . .and the survey says that 59% or the people them like doc party! Only 19% say we going in the wrong direction. . .the lowest unfavorable rating I have eve seen any leader got around the world. . .he rocing naw people. . .gee him that. . .so that if he mess up later yinna could be legitimate in ya criticisms. . .just chill and lets watch him! So far he doing a good job. Take yinna cue from Nikki Kelly. . .when she "punch him in he eyes. . .he deserve it". . .but yinna. . .iffin he piss yall gat a problem with how high he pissed! That's just plain nasty jealousy there man. . .

What a cut ass yinna getting. . .no wonder yall sooooooooooooooooo pissed until yinna refuse to tell truth!

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