Thank you for allowing me to respond to the breathtaking wisdom of Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) CEO Simon Potter, who has once again demonstrated that he knows what is best for Bahamians, far better than we ever could.
Speaking on behalf of the “silent majority” of Bahamians who secretly support BPC’s gamble to enrich its overwhelmingly foreign shareholders while we absorb all the considerable risk, Potter is kind enough to inform us that we “have a right to know” whether there is oil here.
A right to know! Well, imagine that. How selfless, how generous of Mr Potter to stand in the breach, championing our rights for us without even being asked.
While he’s at it, I wonder, could Potter also confirm whether or not we have a right to determine our own future and not have it held ransom by condescending overseas petro-colonialists?
What about a right not to see the 130,000 jobs that rely directly on our pristine environment put at risk just so Potter’s shareholders, who should be ashamed of themselves, can make a quick buck?
What about our right not to be treated like ignorant natives to be pacified with arrogant, specious arguments and ready-made sound bites?
“Look!” we are told. “The people of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Guyana are all benefitting from petro-dollars! That could be you!!”
Could it really? When not a single one of those countries can boast anywhere near the per-capita income The Bahamas already enjoys today thanks to tourism — not even close?
Are we really supposed to put it all on the line, risk our golden goose, allow our pristine waters to be turned into a toxic wasteland, all so we can be just like…Suriname? Fascinating logic.
Potter goes on to helpfully inform us that the dangers of offshore oil drilling are really not as serious as they have been made out to be. What a relief!
Good to know that the thousands of scientific studies, press reports on spill disasters, testimonials from locals whose environment has been ruined around the world, don’t carry any weight — or at least, not as much as the word of a professional oil opportunist with an admitted vested interest.
The wisdom of Potter does stumble at one point, when he claims that citizens who challenge his drill plan are interfering with the Bahamas government’s “sovereign right” to allow for oil exploration.
I’m not sure how it works in Britain, but around here, sovereignty rests with the people of The Bahamas, not elected officials, and if it turns out that Potter is wrong about the sentiments of the silent majority, this administration will swiftly find itself back in the wilderness from whence it came.
Which of course, would suit Potter and his associates just fine. One political party is as good as the next to them. None of what happens here really matters — they are just in it for the drill.