Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaking in Abaco on Friday. (BIS Photos/Yontalay Bowe)
NEIL HARTNELL and
Environmental activists spent the weekend celebrating after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed he is “totally against” oil drilling in Bahamian waters.
In a statement which will have shocked Bahamas Petroleum Company, Dr Minnis also suggested the government would have backed out of a controversial oil exploration deal if it could have.
“I am totally against oil drilling in our waters,” Dr Minnis told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Abaco on Friday. “Totally.”
Attorney Fred Smith, who represents Waterkeepers Bahamas and the Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay (Save The Bays), said: “To hear the Prime Minister, who is the heart of the Government, say he is against oil drilling is music to our ears. It is an exquisite expression of transparent fresh air.”
Bahamas Petroleum Company plans for the Stena IceMAX vessel to begin drilling Perseverance One in waters some 90 miles west of Andros, close to the maritime boundary with Cuba, on December 20.
The entire exercise is expected to take between 45-60 days, and the oil explorer has repeatedly argued that - as a non-production well - the chances of any oil spill will be minimal and it will be capped afterwards.
Last week, activists filed an application for judicial review to stop the oil exploration.
On Friday, when asked about concerns about the environmental impact of oil drilling, Dr Minnis said: “I have said that before and that has not changed. Unfortunately, we were saddled with an agreement that we met there. When we discussed it with the legal department, we were advised that the commitment and everything was signed and basically, we could not get out of it.
“But if we could’ve gotten out of it believe me, I am against totally drilling for oil in our waters.” Read more >>