EDITOR, The Tribune.
I am a shareholder in Bahamas Petroleum (‘BPC’). I am not part of a PR agency, specialist interest group, employee, or supplier. Just an ordinary shareholder with a relatively small amount of shares out of the four billion plus on issue.
It is good to question our political leaders and to take part in informed debate to make our nation a better place and a fairer place to live. I do in the country where I live.
It is also good that our youth are more environmentally focused compared with my 1950s generation. However, I cannot help but question a few of the opinions expressed in recent articles relating to the imminent exploratory drill off the Cuban northern coast.
How many of the influencers and financial backers of the campaigns to stop exploratory drilling and eventually production, are connected to The Bahamas? Do they have conflicts of interest? Are they attempting to delay the drill or financially hurt BPC and its shareholders for personal gain?
Based on the timing is there malice involved? And for those vocal objectors who are Bahamian, is it really about the environment or merely a conduit for political protest? My last rhetorical question is based on observing recent articles that seem to start by commenting on the environment yet bring in other points such as financial and political ones. I wish to address them as I believe they are connected.
It is simply not true to imply foreigners have somehow “tricked” and taken advantage of the Bahamian people. The Bahamas is not a modern day African or South American colony taken advantage of by European powers as was the case between the 16th to 19th centuries.
BPC has shareholders internationally, some Bahamian, mostly private investors. More than $100m of our money has been invested with the hope we can profit. Today each BPC share is worth approximately four cents. If commercial quantities of oil are found, analysts believe it will skyrocket to over 40 cents. If none is found, the share price will plummet.
Anyone in The Bahamas can invest in BPC by seeking professional advice and phoning a broker. Even if they cannot afford to do so, they will indirectly benefit if oil is found, because the vast royalties can create a wealth fund for future generations or pay off the national debt. Norway’s fund is so huge, if a baby is born while you are reading this article, the state has a virtual $200,000 invested in this child’s lifetime.
The highly respected Stena Drilling will be doing the exploration well for a few weeks in a ship valued at around $1 billion. In the extremely unlikely event of an accident that cannot be contained, the ocean currents off northern Cuba head to Florida and not The Bahamas anyway.
Oil tankers pass daily with no incident and limited objections, so why all this fuss by a few who misleadingly try and give the impression of being the many?
To debate safety and the environment after an oil discovery is welcome. And if no oil is found, somewhat irrelevant. So, let common sense prevail rather than using it as an excuse for political grievances, stoked by persons who may have conflicts of interest.
My family and I have been to The Bahamas and witnessed its lovely people. A people with the dire misfortune of having to deal with a terrible hurricane and pandemic. Do not let a few thousand people, some with no connection whatsoever to your beautiful islands, trick you.
A BPC shareholder