Albury, DNA on Oil Exploration off Bahamian Shores
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2012
Oil Exploration off Bahamian Shores
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is concerned about recent developments with oil exploration off the shores of The Bahamas. According to DNA candidate for Montagu, Ben Albury’s sources and research, the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC), which was granted a new series of agreements and permits from the previous government in 2005, will begin drilling off this year.
The Party is further informed that BPC has been encouraged not to begin drilling until after the 2012 general elections. The BPC is attempting to tap into an oil reserve estimated to be of “Middle Eastern proportions.”
Last year, the Minister of Environment, Earl Deveaux gave misleading remarks that suggested a moratorium on off shore drilling permits, leading most Bahamians to believe oil exploration was unlikely in the near future. However, Mr. Deveaux did not share with the general public that the Government’s moratorium did not apply to existing permits, which give BPC the authority to move forward immediately.
Allegations about the immense financial benefit that Mr. Deveaux received through the Bell Island transaction raise further questions about the Minister’s ability to protect our precious resources. Mr. Albury now challenges Mr. Deveaux to face public questions regarding his personal benefit from oil exploration.
The Bahamian public should know that there are 12 undisclosed companies, primarily based in China, that BPC has been petitioning to drill in The Bahamas. In BPC’s offer to investors (found on bpcplc.com), they describe The Bahamas as a “giant oil reserve in the making” further bragging about “attractive fiscal terms, like low royalties and no corporation taxes.”
In order to raise public awareness and to protect the interest of all Bahamians, Mr. Albury and the DNA demand answers to the following questions:
Why are Bahamians not aware of the scheduled 2012 drilling?
A decision that presents great benefit and even greater potential risk deserves a public discourse. Once again, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and Free National Movement (FNM) are prepared to make discrete decisions with a secret group that will inherently affect everyone.
How are Bahamians being protected from the risks of oil drilling?
When Mr. Albury asked if BPC had prepared an Emergency Relief Fund to mitigate the affects of a potential spill, BPC CEO Paul Crevello said, “it’s the governments responsibility to enforce those regulations.” Oil drilling threatens two of our country’s biggest industries, tourism and fishing; therefore the DNA demands to know if Mr. Deveaux and the FNM government have ensured the protection of Bahamian interest.
How will Bahamians benefit from oil drilling?
-Venezuela (2005)- Gas prices dropped to $0.12 per/ gallon as a result of oil drilling.
-Alaska (1996)- Every man, woman, boy, and girl received a check $1,136 p/year.
The average family of four received about $4,500 per/ year.
We are certain that both parties have secured their own interest in a deal orchestrated by both PLP and FNM governments. The DNA is prepared to ensure that Bahamians benefit from Bahamian resources first.
How is China benefitting from oil drilling?
China recently invested $4 billion (which equals The Bahamas total national debt) in Nigerian infrastructure to secure Chinese oil interest there. They have subsequently done the same in most countries with under-developed oil reserves. This raises significant questions about the motive of a $50 million stadium and road projects the FNM government has accepted from China.
Mr. Albury and the DNA will go to all measures to demand answers to these questions.
“It is unacceptable that these decisions are being made in the confines of back rooms and secret meetings. I want the public to know what is about to happen in our precious sea,” said Mr. Albury.
Mr. Albury and the DNA leader Branville McCartney insist that the way oil exploration has been handled, by both the Ingraham and Christie administrations, represent a complete disregard for public opinion.
The DNA government will address the following:
• Public Opinion- The DNA government will ensure transparency in oil drilling discourse and add the publics voice to these conversations through town hall meetings.
• Bahamians First- The DNA government will ensure that Bahamians are the primary beneficiary of profits generated from oil drilling and that the added income is used to address our most urgent issues: Crime and Education.
• Emergency Relief Fund- The DNA government will mandate for any company drilling off Bahamian shores to invest 150-200% (or significantly more) of the potential losses sustained to the tourism and fishing industries.