Says protection of the environment was high on the agenda
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – While the specifics of a closed-door meeting, which was held on Monday between government and Oban executives are being kept under wraps; the prime minister revealed to Eyewitness News Online that the end result of any agreement between both parties will ensure that the best interest of Bahamians is paramount.
While Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis did not divulge what topics were addressed in the meeting, which was held at the Department of Labour, he highlighted that the protection of the environment was high on the agenda.
“We would still be doing and assessing what is in the best interest of the country, ensuring that we do all the proper investigations and ensure that environmental impact studies are done so that the environment is protected,” Dr. Minnis said.
The Oban deal garnered headlines in 2017 after government signed a controversial deal with the oil refinery company which is expected to develop a multi-billion-dollar oil refinery and storage facility in East Grand Bahama.
The facility is set to be built on the southern tip of Grand Channel.
Aside from a debacle, which played out blow by blow in the media, where an Oban executive inked the signature of the company’s president during the ceremonial signing of the Heads of Agreement (HoA); environmentalists have given major pushbacks over potential environmental threats from the proposed projects.
Government signed the ceremonial Heads of Agreement with Oban on February 19, 2017.
The Minnis administration signed the agreement without an environmental impact assessment (EIA), and it became an issue that was heavily lamented by environmentalists.
There was also widespread public outcry over a clause in the agreement that prevented the government from scrapping the deal based on anything in the EIA.
Over one year later, the prime minister asserts that the deal will not move forward without ensuring that the environment is protected.
“Whatever is in the best interest of The Bahamas will be done,” the prime minister promised Monday.
Once rolled out, the $5.5 billion dollar project is expected to provide hundreds of jobs for Grand Bahamians.