Labour Minister Dion Foulkes.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
LABOUR Minister Dion Foulkes yesterday said no new date has been finalised for a meeting with Oban Energies to renegotiate the Heads of Agreement for its controversial $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage terminal on Grand Bahama.
“We haven’t settled a date yet. We still are talking to settle a date,” Mr Foulkes told The Tribune yesterday on the sidelines of a press conference at Charlotte House.
The Oban deal was by the government on February 19 last year and has been dogged by controversy.
Environmental organisations that took issue with the lack of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) given the project’s risk factors. There were also concerns about the background and qualifications of some Oban representatives.
The fallout prompted an admission from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis last March that there were gross missteps in the government process.
“While our heart was in the right place, these missteps should not have happened. We must, we can and we will do better,” Dr Minnis said.
Last month, Alexander Grikitis, managing director of operations at Oban Energies, confirmed that an EIA had been completed. He added Oban would be meeting with the government on January 7.
On December 25, Mr Foulkes, who co-chairs the Cabinet subcommittee spearheading the Oban review and renegotiations, confirmed both this January 7 meeting and that the government is in receipt of the EIA.
“We are in receipt of the complete EIA for the project,” he said at the time. “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 insisted the Minnis administration is committed to ensuring transparency and accountability throughout this process.