NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Environmentalists yesterday accused the government of “working backwards” on the oil exploration issue.
Sam Duncombe, reEarth’s president told Eyewitness News: “It just does not add up. Nothing about this adds up. How is it that BPC has spent millions for dollars of investors money so we can tell them what to do with it?”
She was responding to comments by Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira who stated that the Bahamian people will determine the fate of any commercial oil discovery in this nation’s waters.
The former Christie administration had promised to hold a referendum on the issue in the event of a commercial discovery so that the Bahamian people could decide whether to pursue oil exploration in Bahamian waters.
Bahamas Petroleum Company, the oil and gas exploration company licensed by The Bahamas’ government to assess the country’s petroleum resources, plans to commence its first exploratory drill in April of this year.
Duncombe said: “Show us the agreement with BPC. You’re going to go through all the process involved with drilling and then it’s going to be put to the people? It’s designed to bamboozle the public into thinking that somehow along the way they have a say.
“It’s a joke. It’s working backwards. You do the referendum first and then decide if you’re going to rip up the sea bed. It’s ridiculous.”
Joe Darville, chairman of Save the Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas said: “BPC knows the amount of oil that is likely there. I don’t believe they have to drill. It’s rather puzzling they could give that assurance to their investors; they were not going to raise the amount of funding they have unless they gave the assurance that oil is there.”
Darville added: “We are talking about moving toward a green economy and this is a total contradiction. That can create a havoc in our environment that incomparable. We cannot expect to survive on fossil fuels. We cannot allow this to take place.”