EDITOR, The Tribune.
Someone forgot to remind US Representatives Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell that The Bahamas is a sovereign nation, like the United States of America.
One of the dailies reported earlier in the year that the two Democratic Party congresswomen had written a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in The Bahamas Stephanie Bowers, with aim of utilising the sheer weight of the Trump administration in urging the Minnis administration not to green light oil drilling in The Bahamas.
As a former official of Save the Bays and Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay, Environment Minister Romauld Ferriera has been ridiculed by many environmentalist lobbyists, who cannot appreciate the precarious position the Free National Movement administration finds itself in attempting to make ends meet.
Environmental lobbyists, to the best of my knowledge, have yet to propose a feasible idea on how the government can create more sustainable revenue streams. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was these people who petitioned the aforementioned American lawmakers to influence the Bahamian government.
Environmental lobbyists come off as idolising Mother Earth, called Gaia in Greek mythology. With stringent measures in place to protect the environment, the FNM must ensure that an oil spill, similar to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, does not occur here.
Another thing, a critic of the BPC deal was being disingenuous on Twitter by referencing the shoddy state of Venezuela’s economy, despite it being one of the world’s largest exporters of oil. What he conveniently failed to mention was that Venezuela’s failure stems from the socialist policies of the late Hugo Chavez, the former president who died in 2013, after ruling that country for 14 years.
Compounding Venezuela’s issues is its strained relationship with the American government. Discovering oil won’t automatically transform The Bahamas into another Venezuela.
One would hope that the action by Shultz and Mucarsel-Powell wasn’t an attempt to bully a small developing country that heavily relies on the US. Oil is produced in states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, California, North Dakota, New Mexico, Utah, Louisiana, Colorado and Wyoming. With its ability to produce oil, the US finds itself in the enviable position of not being vulnerable to a potential blackmail by hostile OPEC countries.
Texas, with its total production of 1.85 billion barrels of oil in 2019, is considered the largest domestic oil producing state in the US. With a population of 28.7 million, the Lone Star State has the second largest economy in the US, at $1.9 trillion. The average median household income in Texas is $62,263, with a current jobless rate that was just 3.5 percent in 2019, as per Forbes Business.
Texas is home to ExxonMobil. In the event Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) discovers oil at commercial quantity in The Bahamas, this country’s economy would be revolutionised, with the government finally having the ability to pay off the national debt. Thousands of jobs would be created, lessening our over-reliance on tourism.
The government would be in a better position to build schools, hospitals, low-cost homes, roads, airports, docks, police stations, courthouses and a new prison facility. Moreover, the government would finally be in the position to develop the Family Islands, depopulating New Providence in the process. And not only would the government be able to grant free college education to every Bahamian student, it would also be in the financial position to establish a catastrophic health insurance scheme for its citizens. The discovery of oil at commercial quantity would transform The Bahamas into the oil rich Texas of the Caribbean.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
October 22, 2020.