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Updated: U.S. Congress Members Urge Pm To Reconsider Oil Drilling Agreement

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

photo

ENVIRONMENT Minister Romauld Ferreira.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

SEVERAL members of the United States Congress have written to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira urging them to reconsider the oil drilling agreement with Bahamas Petroleum Company.

Yesterday, Dr Minnis told The Tribune he had not formally received the letter through the Office of the Prime Minister and offered no further comment. Attorney General Carl Bethel is expected to address the oil drilling issue when the Senate meets today.

BPC’s drilling ship, Stena IceMAX, anchored out to sea between the Berry Islands and Grand Bahama last Tuesday. BPC planned to begin drilling its first exploratory well in waters 90 miles west of Andros yesterday.

The letter, dated December 17, was signed by Congressman Alcee L Hastings and supported by 16 other US Congress members in the letter to Dr Minnis and Mr Ferreira “expressing opposition” to BPC’s offshore drilling project, the Perseverance No 1 oil well.

In the letter, it was stated the agreement should be reconsidered “to protect the beauty and longevity of our fragile and shared ecosystems, the economies that depend on them, and the future of our planet.”

The letter continues: “Should BPC’s project move forward, we will be justified in fearing that the Atlantic coast is at risk of severe, even catastrophic, impact from any spills that might occur – essentially undermining the recent offshore drilling ban extension from President Trump, and future offshore drilling restrictions.

“It is unclear whether BPC has the capacity to help mitigate a serious disaster, let alone prevent one in the first place. Should a calamitous event occur, the Bahamian government and BPC’s clean-up efforts will undoubtedly require financial assistance from neighbours, including the United States, to address any spill that would spread throughout domestic and international waters.

“What’s worse, the ship arriving on your shores to begin drilling has a track record of safety issues on previous jobs, including incidents in March 2016, September 2016, and October 2017.”

On December 11, Dr Minnis told reporters he was “totally against” oil drilling in Bahamian waters, but was advised by the government’s legal department that “the commitment and everything was signed basically and we could not get out of it.”

Amid these statements, activists and now the US Congressmen and women have increased calls for the oil drilling to be called off.

“Unfortunately, we believe the agreement reached between BPC and the Bahamian government is directly contrary to the urgent call made at the United Nations just last year,” the December 17 letter continued. “In that speech, prime minister, you cited the contribution carbon emissions have made to the climate crisis and the devastating impacts this crisis continues to have on island nations like the Bahamas, including those wrought by Hurricane Dorian, rising sea levels, and natural barrier degradation.”

Congressman Hastings also sent a tweet to his followers about the proposed oil drilling in this nation.

“I’m deeply concerned about the ramifications of the offshore drilling agreement between @opmthebahamas & @bpcplc on Florida, our shared ecosystems, and our planet’s future. I urge for all leaders to reject #BigOil interests and instead address the immediate and growing #ClimateCrisis.”

The list of US Representatives that joined Mr Hastings were: Kathy Castor, Darren Solo, Charlie Crist, Gerald E Connolly, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Nydia M Velázquez, Ted Deutch, A Donald McEachin, Al Lawson, Alan Lowenthal, Abigail D Spanberger, Chellie Pingree, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, David Scott, and Donna E Shalala.

Their letter was copied to Mike Pompeo, US Department of State in Washington, and Stephanie Bowers, chargé d’Affairs at the US Embassy in Nassau.

Comments

K4C 1 month ago

at one time this was considered to be POLITICAL INTERFERENCE by a foreign government

and IT IS

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Don't be so ridiculous.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

So, every diplomat in the world is interfering politically? "At one time", as you say, all the other doctors laughed when one of them said, "maybe so many of our patients wouldn't die if we washed our hands in between." At one time ignorance was considered bliss. No longer. This K4C, was a letter. A letter by those who have already had the experience of being bamboozled by shysters. Some people may have watched the OBAN crisis and said, "Hey, let's do that again". Others may have said, "something ain't right here. We better be careful next time". But, political interference? Seriously? is this the fruit of our war on illiteracy and ignorance? For god's sake, there is not a serious scientist studying this issue that isn't highly alarmed, with all the new evidence and data pouring in. The others, like the ones who get paid by the oil industry have seemingly already sold their soul. I see which ones you choose to listen to.

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K4C 1 month ago

pity you have no KNOWLEDGE of what POLITICAL INTERFERENCE is

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Meaning what? That you think I don't believe money changed hands between BPC and our elected officials? Persuasion is what you are confusing with political interference. I speak out here to persuade. If I were to pay, for instance, a government lawyer to say, "there is no getting out of the agreement to drill for oil", that would be political interference. The members of the US Congress have every right to address their concerns as they did. It seems you are unable to grasp the difference.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

We're we guilty of political interference when we threw out support behind the release of Nelson Mandela? Ksoljng of a prisoner is a local decision that a country has a right to execute.

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Envirogirl242 1 month ago

Yes ThisisOurs you are correct but the difference here is that we were not throwing people in jail and murdering them for their political dissent against the government as was being conducted as part of Apartheid. So we were of political interference but however, we were opposing from a position of moral superiority on that particular issue which can be seen as justified. The US, in this instance cannot. They are the worse offender when it comes to this issue so how do they expect to lecture anyone about it and be taken seriously? It's interfering with our sovereignty which we should not support just because it happens to align with our position. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Of course you would say that. He / she is for oil drilling. Already brain dead.

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Envirogirl242 1 month ago

This is political interference from someone who is worst than anyone else on the issue of offshore drilling. How do you think they became the number one producer of oil in the world.

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moncurcool 1 month ago

So a foreign government wants the Bahamian government to break a legally binding contractual agreement in order to please them? And when the Bahamian government is sued, and other companies begin to pull out how much will they pay?

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Money, money, money. How much did the Horizon blowout cost? How much are we going to be sued for? Stop and read the emerging science. You have to be an absolute idiot to support drilling for oil in December, 2020. Every year we get loads of new science that humanity benefits from. Nearly every thinking person in the world who is paying attention to the science realizes that burning fossil fuels and the continued exploration for oil is disaterous for our planet. Most especially for The Bahamas. If you want to remain ignorant, have at it. But, some of us have kids and would like to see a livable planet for them. It's one thing to remain ignorant. I suppose that is a personal choice. It is quite another to ask others to remain ignorant. What is the point of education, when we continue to reject education's results.

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moncurcool 1 month ago

I would not waste time responding to your ignorance of dependence on another country as evidently you have some angel to push.

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ColumbusPillow 1 month ago

The USA is the source of oil and gas that the Bahamas consumes in great quantities every day. A lot from drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Some Americans are telling us not to be independent. What hypocrisy!

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Porcupine 1 month ago

The smartest ones are telling us we need to change our ways. You are likely on the public relations payroll of BPC. I just argue with you because it is so easy to do. Clearly, you have not done your homework. I hope you are not a BPC director or manager. That wouldn't bode well for the company.

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Bahama7 1 month ago

I’ve never read so much rubbish in my life.

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Bahama7 1 month ago

How much drilling is going on in the Gulf of Mexico? Hundreds of wells a year. People in glass houses...

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Which is a reason to drill for oil in The Bahamas? Times a changin' little Banana. Sorry you missed the message. Less than 200 years ago slavery was legal. Your point? How far you really want to go back in time? No glass houses. Just libraries and universities which you seem to discount entirely. Still don't want to disclose your identity? I am happy to do so, banana. Just say the word.

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Envirogirl242 1 month ago

Sir you are 100% correct. It is hard, but sometimes I have to acknowledge the hypocrisy in the entire environmental activism movement when we pick and chose our battles which are sometimes suspect. When the US is drilling hundreds of wells, right next to all of us in the gulf no one says a word. When the Cubans are to our immediate south leasing offshore blocks and having Russian companies of all people, come down there and drill just a few miles from where this site is, not a whisper. All of a sudden everyone is up in arms like this hasn't been going on for years. I suspect if this had been a US based company and not a UK firm, we would have heard nothing from our learned congressmen who are such fierce protectors of someone else's environment but neglectful of their own. Completely ridiculous. I have been fighting against the use of fossil fuels for years and as I see it there is no political will by the superpower to do anything about this. My house is powered by 100% renewable energy and I plant and harvest my own food. The vehicle I drive is electric. I just wish more people in the movement would get serious and stop making a big deal out of one issue because they like the optics. Meanwhile we call ourselves activists and drive gas-guzzling carbon burping cars and pay electric utility companies for power which results in the release hundreds of tons of toxic material into the atmosphere. Stopping one company from drilling will not have an impact. We need to deal with the big fish first then worry about the small fry.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

No arguement. We need a couple of billion more like you. Thanks.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

"Exclusive: A $5 billion foundation literally founded on oil money is saying goodbye to fossil fuels."

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/18/in...">https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/18/in...

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Porcupine 1 month ago

"Burning fossil fuels is not necessary to sustain our economy and economic growth over the long run — and it's detrimental to our climate future," Rajiv Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, told CNN Business in an exclusive interview."

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Porcupine 1 month ago

The divestment movement is gaining serious momentum, in tandem with the rise of ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing. More than 1,300 institutions controlling $14.5 trillion have divested in some way from fossil fuels, according to a tally by environmental group 350.org. BlackRock and the $15 trillion fund industry should be broken up, antimonopoly group says BlackRock and the $15 trillion fund industry should be broken up, antimonopoly group says Other estimates are even larger. Funds controlling a total of about $18 trillion had a fossil fuel divestment policy as of August 2020, according to Raymond James — a staggering increase from just $2 billion in 2014 and $3 trillion in 2015.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

So Columbo, 7bananas and others. If the institutional smart money is divesting from fossil fuels, what is it that drives you? What is it, that you feel will so benefit The Bahamas that you would continue your ridiculous arguments in favor of drilling for oil in one of the most threatened island nations in the world? Are you commenting on this forum because you feel it will truly benefit The Bahamas? Or, are you in it for yourselves, for the money to go into your pocket? It doesn't take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out the answer to that question.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

And another stupid liberal organization...........

In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.

The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 414 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

DR. MINNIS, YOU ASSUMED THE POWER TO SHUT THIS COUNTRY DOWN. NOW, SHUT DOWN THIS MAJOR THREAT TO THE BAHAMAS. YOUR JOB SHOULD DEPEND UPON IT. ACTUALLY, IN MY MIND, YOUR FREEDOM SHOULD DEPEND UPON IT. ALLOWING THIS DRILLING TO MOVE FORWARD IS A CRIMINAL ACT. PRIME MINISTER MINNIS, DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE BAHAMAS. STOP THE DRILLING IMMEDIATELY.

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tribanon 1 month ago

BPC's very existence is illegal in as much as it was born from the shenanigans of a bunch of Ponzi scheme shysters in collusion with corrupt government officials. And Carl Bethel knows it!

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joeblow 1 month ago

I guess the US doesn't know that we only listen to them sometimes, but we listen to the Chinese ALWAYS!

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Envirogirl242 1 month ago

I oppose drilling but can't say I support another sovereign power trying to interfere and "influence" our government by adding political pressure to have us align with their interests. What would happen if they were in fact in favor of this venture and our government wasn't, and they were trying to get them to go ahead with the drilling? This is just wrong. We as a sovereign entity should be deciding this. The US should be the last nation to be lecturing anyone on the environmental dangers of drilling as they are the numero uno oil producer in the world and drill hundreds of offshore wells every year. Not only that they left the paris accord in 2019 and just a month ago leased over half a million acres in the gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas companies in just one day. So they should not be lecturing anyone or interfering with anyone as such. What this says to our government is "I can do it, but I don't trust YOU backwards guys to do it". An insult to say the least. They need to discontinue all their environmental atrocities first before trying to play big brother to someone else. The PM should respond "Mind your own business, we can stop them when we want".

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tribanon 1 month ago

And what do you have to say about the Ingraham, Christie and Minnis administrations having allowed the Communist Chinese to take control of our country? Aren't you the least bit suspicious about the timing of the recent changes to our election laws aimed at making our entire voting system electronic and therefore much more susceptible to hacking by bad state actors like the very evil and sinister Xi Jinping led Communist Chinese Party? And we all know just how unsecure all of our government's computer systems are!

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Envirogirl242 1 month ago

I oppose the drilling but can't say that I support this interference from another sovereign entity into our affairs. The US is the numero uno oil producer in the world and drill hundreds of offshore wells every year so they should be the last ones lecturing any other nation on the dangers of this activity. They are also the number two carbon emissions country in the world. We would indeed be looking at this differently if they were in favor of this activity and trying to pressure our leaders into permitting it if the government was against it. Which based on their track record could have easily been the case. Just last month they auctioned half a million acres of offshore blocks in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas companies. Now they are telling us what to do. Hypocrisy at its height. Minnis should disregard this and stop this based on what is best for our country, and that should be the only thing driving his decision. Our big brother who just left the Paris accord officially on November 4th is no friend to the environment, they are only concerned with their own interests.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

The Congress people are merely protecting their constituents interests. They know neither BPL nor The Bahamas are capable of handling any serious problems. Again, how do consider this interference? They are merely asking PM Minnis to be true to his own recent spoken words. Too much to ask for from a national leader. Wow! The dumbing down is nearly complete.

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bobneville 1 month ago

sorry buddy,meerca cannot help you in this one, besides you dont need to drill holes to tell where there is oil.dummies.the boat is for your benefit, however the area must be cleared of peering eyes. for a while afterwards everything go back to what you call normal. and we dont have to listern to your foolish for another while, all is well go back to sleep.ps

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Bahama7 1 month ago

Never trust the Chinese or people that want to hold back the Bahamas like QC Porky.

Let’s pray for an oil discovery next year ... out of darkness cometh light.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Got it all wrong oil boy. Never met Mr. Smith. Happy we're on the same side though. I spend countless hours helping and fighting for my Bahamian brothers and sisters. And you? Your imput to Bahamian civil society? Communist? Try some more big words, big boy. The more you write, the more evident it becomes your arguing with me is above your pay grade. You have no interest in The Bahamas besides drilling for oil. Your arguments and accusations are stale, outdated and childish.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

"Never trust the Chinese" is a bit racist, don't you think? What do you really, really think of Bahamians?

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tribanon 1 month ago

Never trusting the Communist Chinese is no more racist than never trusting the Devil. And besides, it might surprise you to know they count among those who have invested in BPC.

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ColumbusPillow 1 month ago

Not one, not two but 12 hysterical rants by Porcupine. We need relief from this hysteria.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Don't argue with me. I am nobody. Argue over the facts I present. I want to hear your educated critique of the statements made by BNT, the Secretary General of the UN, the letter from members of the US Congress. All you can do is call me hysterical. You are a mental lightweight snake oil salesboy. And, no response to divulging your identity if I do. Why would you hesitate? I have an idea.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

You are free to leave any time you want. Unless, your paymasters at BPC won't let you.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Atlantis and Baha Mar either voluntarily or under the seal of government will be so ordered closed for an indefinite period within 21 days from December 19, 2020.
Resorts management's legal people know damn well that the only hopes that they have of avoiding costly litigation damages are to be allowed to operate under the cover of the authority of the colony's competent authority. The same legal challenge could be faced by any other business when it comes to insurance coverage payout claims if brought against them by customers and employees for damages suffered. Shakehead** a quick once for upyeahvote, a slow twice for not?

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

What would Pontius Pilate do at this point?

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Ask Columbo and his / her sidekick.

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Bilbobaggins 1 month ago

Government CHOSE to extend licence despite many opportunities to withdraw due to BPC breaches

In June 2015 the Government of The Bahamas renewed the Company's four southern licences, for a second three year exploration term. The Company's principal work obligation under the renewal was to commence activity on an initial exploration well by April 2017.

The Government of The Bahamas has today extended the time for the performance of the obligations and requirements of BPC under its Licence Renewals for a further period of 12 months, as applies to its four co-joined southern licences. The impact of the above is that the Company will now not be obliged to commence activity on an initial exploration well until April 2018

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DDK 1 month ago

Let 'em have it Prickly One. Apparently there are, amazingly enough, at least 17 U S Congress persons not yet in the hands of Big Oil that actually understand the ramifications of an oil spill up the east coast of their own country!

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John 1 month ago

OIL is BIG BUSINESS! And Big businesses draws the attention of everyone. Criminals and pirates included. And to the extreme that an oil spill, though a serious concern, is not major thing this country should be concerned about in its exploration for oil and the possibility f finding it in huge quantities. Just as other natural resources are being stolen and frittered away using the eyesights of Bahamians and under their noses, so will it be with oil. Regularise the mining of aragonite, salt and limestone in this country first before seeking to explore oil. The PM’s lame, weak and false excuse that he cannot remind the contract to texplore and pirate away pile from this country is like saying someone stole your car, and you see them driving up and down in it every day, but you don’t have the rights or power to take it back.

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Bahama7 1 month ago

Porcupine is going into overdrive.

Just face it - not everyone shares your ideology and many Bahamians are pro- oil drilling. Get over it!

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

No not everyone shares his views.

The people who love money above all else and would sell The Bahamas for pittance to get it for themselves will definitely oppose @Porcupine's views.

I'll never forget Steve McKinney telling us that all we had to do was vote for the PLP and we would see big trucks driving down the road with 20 million dollars and all we had to do was reach out and grab it. The FNM is apparently no different

These guys are fully aware that talk of easy money will grab the unprincipled among us. And there are many unprincipled among us from high to low. Just read the commission of Inquiry report, read the court documents on the Nygard case. If only we could find those Oban files we'd have them to read too. What was written must have been extremely incriminating for the administration to apparently ghost the papers and fake a theft. Wait isn't that EXACTLY what happened in Watergate? Een noone else take them cause they didn't show up in the punch.

Go find another country to sell

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Porcupine 1 month ago

ThisisOurs, I appreciate the solidarity and support. Thanks.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

Hey Banana, I have been at this for 45 years. What I have found is that if you stand on principle and take the moral high ground, you will have no regrets. You have addressed none of the issues I raise. All you can do is to throw stones. If you feel so strongly on this issue, reveal your identity, and so will I. Personally, I don't care if anyone shares my views, so long as I know I am fighting for justice. You, on the other hand appear to be a prostitute, defined by selling yourself for money. Feel strongly about this issue, banana? Let's have the integrity to show Bahamians who we are. This is a challenge you will not take, because you have no backbone, no integrity, less intelligence. Overdrive is a compliment, hey? I do not get paid to comment here. There is a good chance you do. I care about The Bahamas. And you?

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John 1 month ago

Just look what happened in Trinidad and Venezuela and some Middle East countries after oil was discovered. Many paid with their lives if freedoms.

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johnmcntsh 1 month ago

BPC has less than a year Cash Runway. That is an absolute disaster. If something goes wrong the Government and THE PEOPLE of the Bahamas will be held responsible and you will have saddled your children with astronomical debts.

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nassau98@aol.com 1 month ago

Cuba has oil fields ninety (90) miles of the coast of Florida; Cuba has oil files approximately the same distance from the Bahamas. Oil tankers transport millions of barrels of oil through the waters of the Bahamas every year.

We have an oil refinery in Freeport. The (USA) has oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The Bahamas is a sovereign country. We determine our own destiny. I say DRILL, DRILL, DRILL. Ignore all of these prophets of dome. Enough (BS) -DRILL, DRILL, DRILL.

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Porcupine 1 month ago

I always listen to the prophets of dome. It helps my vocabulary.

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tribanon 1 month ago

Actually you're the idiot here.....by far!

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GodSpeed 1 month ago

America knows they'll have to be the ones cleaning it up when everything goes wrong. How stupid is this Bahamian government?

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