Oban select committee rejected

Englerston MP Glenys-Hanna Martin. (Photo courtesy of Torrell Glinton/ Nassau Guardian)

A motion to appoint a select committee to investigate the controversial multi billion-dollar Oban deal for East Grand Bahamas was rejected by the governing Free National Movement (FNM) Wednesday afternoon in Parliament.

Englerston Member of Parliament (MP) Glenys Hanna-Martin raised the issue in the House of Assembly (HOA) several weeks ago and yesterday, she once again aired the Opposition’s concerns on the deal.

She noted that it appeared as if government and the developer was “making up the rules as they went along”, skirting around established policies for investment.

Meanwhile MP for Exuma and Ragged Island and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy leader Chester Cooper, also charged, that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis misled the House in relation to the deal.

All government members present voted against the committee to be appointed, while all opposition members voted in favour.

In her contribution, Hanna-Martin lambasted the government for proceeding with an investor that successive governments dismissed.

“I am shocked that this government would agree to anything in a document that resembles this,” she said.

“Why would government approve a deal laden with so many concerns, especially as it relates to the environment.”

She questioned the capability of the developer to fund the project, noting that its president Satpal Dhunna, raised concern and compounded anxiety.

“He has no experience in this filed and I believe that government is dealing with a deceptive group of people,” Hanna-Martin said.

Opposition members, along with the wider public, have been highly critical of government’s handling of the project. Weeks after the signing of the February 19 Oban Energies’ heads of agreement (HOA), Dr. Minnis admitted that a number of missteps were made.

Following that, Oban Energies president Satpal Dhunna explained exclusively to Eyewitness News, that his interpretation of the missteps was simply the signing of the HOA.

He insisted however, that the company should not be discredited for what it is trying to achieve in the $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility, which is expected to create jobs and spur economic growth in economically challenged Grand Bahama.

Select committees are appointed by Parliament to ensure government explains and properly justifies its agenda.