Who Has The Horse In The OBAN Race?

Photo Credit: The Nassau Guardian

As the week comes to a close, the Bahamian people must be suffering from flashbacks to 2012 of the first year in governance of the PLP and the failed Gambling Referendum. At that time, the Prime Minister assured that there was “NO HORSE IN THE RACE” from his administration, but in the end, scores of Bahamians believed otherwise.

In similar fashion, The Oban revelations have caught the Minnis Administration in a web of inaccuracies, half truths, misstatements and fraud. The most unsettling part is that the revelations are still coming.

Here is what we do know:-

1. This administration has endorsed a project replete with unsavory characters.

2. The Heads of Agreement has purportedly been signed on THREE DIFFERENT OCCASIONS.

3. OBAN HAS NO HISTORY in the oil refining business.

4. Nearly 700 acres of Crown Land has been “GIVEN AWAY” –AGAIN

5. OBAN WILL NOT PAY TAXES which other businesses MUST pay.

6. The Government does not have a completed Environmental report on the impact to this project to the Bahamas (which affects the people and our tourism industry) and has signed an agreement where the Government has relinquished its rights to terminate this Heads of Agreement even on the outcome of negative environmental grounds.

Once again, scores of Bahamians throughout the length and breadth of the Bahamas are asking themselves the same question they did in 2012. Does someone in this administration have a horse in the race?

The DNA calls for the IMMEDIATE review and if necessary CANCELLATION of this Oban fiasco. We call for a PAUSE of all activity until we can ascertain the identity of the parties to the deal and we also demand a review of the most insane parts of a deal which offers NO PROTECTION for the delicate environment.

Christopher Mortimer
DNA Interim Leader

Government must terminate Fraudulent Heads of Agreement

For weeks now, the Oban Energies melodrama has played out in the media. Each week, new revelations have been unearthed tearing away at the credibility of both the company and more importantly, this inept Minnis administration, which failed on multiple fronts to maintain the confidence of the Bahamian people in this and future foreign direct investments. Rather than attempting to adequately address the lingering concerns of environmentalists and the wider population, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have often become defensive with members of the press and others who have dared to suggest that the deal in question is not in the best Interest of the people of the Bahamas.

Not only does the Heads Of Agreement relinquish millions of dollars in concessions, but in addition to being signed without the completion of necessary environmental assessments, the contract also strips the government of its right to terminate the contract in the event the assessments deem the project a hazard to the environment.

Today’s headlines seem to further cement feelings of mistrust in this government and Oban’s Principle figures. Back on February 19th government officials including Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, made a spectacle of the signing of the Oban Energies Heads of Agreement, (HOA) broadcasting the press conference live and touting the new era of prosperity which the project would usher in for Grand Bahama Island. What was not immediately apparent however was the blatant and egregious fraud perpetrated by the company’s Non-Executive Chairman Peter Krieger who did not sign his name to the Heads of Agreement but rather that of the company’s President Satpal Dhunna who was notably absent from those proceedings. 
Much like the fish that the PM received from Toogie and Bobo, something stinks! The decision by Krieger to sign another individual’s name to the official HOA is a direct violation of fraud laws; in fact, countless Bahamians have been brought up on similar charges and have been forced to face the brunt of the law. These laws however, should also apply to ALL potential investors looking to do business within our borders. Krieger’s action not only render the HOA NULL AND VOID but further raises questions about the government’s knowledge of his deliberate intent to deceive Bahamians. Further, the Bahamian people must question what type of due diligence the government uses when entering in agreements that commits the Bahamas and its people to irreversible contracts.

In the face of this very disturbing evidence, the PM is now attempting to cast the signing as merely a ceremonial event with no real legal import. His comments are laced with hypocrisy, and nothing more than an attempt by less than transparent men to conceal their blatant skullduggery. The actions of both parties in this matter, leaves much to be desired and raises serious questions.

Firstly, why would the government knowingly enter into an agreement with a company whose project funding was heavily dependent on its procurement of the signed government contract? Secondly, how does the government justify the clause surrounding potential environmental degradation?

After months of preaching the need for honesty and transparency and an end to corruption, PM Minnis has seemingly helped perpetuate a massive Fraud to gain political brownie points. The DNA Calls on the government to say definitively whether they had knowledge of Krieger’s intent and further call on the government to TERMINATE ALL ITS DEALINGS WITH OBAN ENERGIES!

Christopher Mortimer
DNA Interim Leader