NASSAU, BAHAMAS – More than 10 months after authorities confirmed they were investigating the disappearance of a file on the controversial Oban Energies project, which reportedly went missing from the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology(BEST) Commission, the Commissioner of Police confirmed yesterday that the investigation is still ongoing.
“Let me say I think sometimes what people have got to know is that some investigations take a long time and some take short time, and so we have to be thorough in what we are doing and so as soon as we reach a conclusion the outcome will be made,’ said Commissioner Anthony Ferguson, who also has responsibility for the Anti-Corruption Branch of the police force.
In an interview with Eyewitness News back in January, Ferguson was also unable to provide any substantive details on the probe, including whether the file had been recovered; what it contained, or whether anyone or any entity was implicated in its disappearance.
The government signed a heads of agreement with Oban last February for a $5.5 billion oil refinery and storage facility project in East Grand Bahama.
It did so in the absence of an environmental impact assessment (EIA), which was just one of the controversial elements of the deal.
The government signed the agreement with Oban on February 10, 2018, but the public was not notified at the time.
There was also a widespread public outcry over a clause in the agreement that prevented the government from scrapping the deal based on anything in the EIA.
The government has pledged to strike a better deal with Oban Energies and last year appointed a negotiation team.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes chairs the Cabinet sub-committee and technical advisory group charged with examining the Oban deal.
On Tuesday, Foulkes confirmed that no significant headway has been made between OBAN executives and the government to renegotiate an amended heads of agreement.
“The meeting has not taken place,” Foulkes said. “We have about eight persons from our side that comprise the negotiation team and on the Oban side, there are seven or eight.
“Also, [as for] the itineraries for all of us, they are trying to work that out.
“As soon as we can I will get back to you, so I should have an announcement to make on OBAN very soon.
“We have not submitted [the amendments] but we will do that soon,” Foulkes said.
Foulkes also claimed a computer glitch slowed the process of getting the government’s amendments to the deal printed.
“It [the amendments] was very comprehensive. It’s about 15 pages in total and we had a glitch with our computer system and we are trying to get that sorted out but there is nothing really new to report on OBAN at this stage.”