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‘Significant Changes’ Needed In Oban 2

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.

By RICARDO WELLS 

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE government is seeking to amend the economic, environmental and legal provisions of controversial Oban Energies Heads of Agreement, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes has revealed.

His announcement came yesterday outside of Cabinet’s weekly meeting, where he also revealed that Lauren Klein, consultant counsel in the Office of the Attorney General, and Alexander Grikits, will lead the government’s and Oban’s negotiating teams respectively.

The government was expected to meet with Oban’s principals and legal counsel on Monday, however those plans fell through in the lead up to the meeting.

Mr Foulkes said the sides have not yet been able to reschedule the talks, but suggested two dates later this month are being eyed as options. He said if neither of those days can be utilised, the government’s negotiation committee will hold a meeting to determine how best to move forward.

“The government is adamant about changing the terms of the Heads of Agreement,” Mr Foulkes said yesterday. “Oban has agreed to enter discussions to change those provisions which we find at a disadvantage to the residents of Grand Bahama and to the Bahamian people generally.”

When asked to give a timeline for the talks, Mr Foulkes said he foresees “two or three meetings” will be needed, but said a definitive timeline could only come once talks get underway.

“We want to make quite extensive changes to the Heads of Agreement. If the principals of Oban and the board of Oban agree to those changes, we will sign a new Heads of Agreement,” he said.

He added: “We are looking primarily at three major categories, the economic provisions, the environmental provisions and the legal provisions. I do not want to get into the details until we have an opportunity to present our terms to Oban so that they can have an opportunity to respond.”

When asked by The Tribune if the government would be prepared to walk away from its deal with Oban if the company doesn’t agree to the new terms, Mr Foulkes said such a decision would have to be made by Cabinet when the time presented itself.

“I don’t want to comment on that point, it is a decision for the government, for the Cabinet of the Bahamas to make; if the talks are unsuccessful, it would be a decision for the Cabinet to make.”

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.

Despite this, however, Mr Foulkes last month said the government will likely not make the project’s environmental impact assessment public until a new agreement is inked.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 4 days ago

Minnis intends to shove this God awful Oban deal down the throats of the Bahamian people one way or another. He's hell bent on proving to us that his nasty arrogance has no bounds! LMAO

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

Yes, or no - the minister is acting like juvenile?
In name comrade Joseph, the foster father Jesus - how many warning cowbells does your red government has strapped around all the OBAN bullshi#, before it makes the 91,409 voting red 10 May 2017 - to step forward to admit that when it IS a sure certain sign that there still exists a much serious problem stemming from the Imperial red shirts cabinet's badly juvenile staged "fake signatory"- starting on day one up in prime minister's office. Yes, no?

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DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

They still talking about OBAN? They need to bury it!

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 3 days ago

The FNM Government was given a contract BY OBAN. That benefits OBAN. OBAN representatives said they spent 10 million looking for a site, ,Truth they met doc and they saw him for who he is. and he signed what ever they wanted him to sign.

A contract is a signed document Doc and the Bahamian will have to suffer the fate. Why would OBAN want to change such a sweetheart deal. It is done, it is good for them

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SP 1 week, 3 days ago

Stupid does as stupid is!

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 3 days ago

It's a land grab. The deal asks for permission to develop commercial property for "workers" before they invest billions in an oil refinery....uuhhhh right.... With all the available housing in virtual crime free grand bahama,they need to "construct housing for workers". They're counting on dumb big eye politicians to jump at the sound of the word billion.

It's become clear that 99.9%of these people go into this politics thing with visions of rubbing shoulders with rich investors and shaking them down. From a conversation on guardian radio a few weeks ago, between regular upstanding people, it's clear that this shakedown mentality is deeply ingrained in the Bahamian psycy as "normal". They have no idea that to investors they appear like a bunch of black third world crooks who can be bought for crumbs. No different than the hawkers downtown who bum rush the tourists the minute they step off the cruise ship.

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

Yes, or no, not much attention was paid comrade Loretta's claims that the red shirts rigged the convention rules against her run against Minnis for the not only party's leader's post but for her Long Island House seat..... But now there is mounting talk how Papa Hubert, was also too robbed of fair shot at contesting against Minnis for the red party's top leader's post.... and some talking - how reds beloved Papa, just may have was also been robbed from contesting for run at Cooper's Town House seat? Yes, no, if with merit, doesn't it puts Minnis's term as PM, on shaky grounds?

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