FNM fears conflict in any PLP oil drilling decision
By Candia Dames
Guardian News Editor
The Free National Movement (FNM) said yesterday that if the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is re-elected, its leaders’ ‘relationship’ with the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) would impact whatever decision they make in relation to the company’s bid to drill for oil in Bahamian waters.
PLP Leader Perry Christie last week confirmed that BPC benefited from advice he gave as a consultant to Davis & Co., the law firm which represents Bahamas Petroleum Company.
Christie’s confirmation came after Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said his administration would not allow oil drilling, and suggested that the PLP leader was providing consultancy work for BPC.
Christie said the working relationship with Davis & Co., the law firm owned by PLP Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, began after his party lost the 2007 general election.
The FNM said, “Perry Christie promises that, if elected, his role as a consultant to the Bahamas
Petroleum Company will not influence his government’s decision on allowing BPC to drill in Andros in 2013.
“Perry (Christie) cannot think that Bahamians don’t see through this empty statement. Bahamians know that the PLP record is not one of ethical clarity and transparency...”, said the statement sent by email@example.com.
But Christie said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian last week, “It’s not a conflict because the advice I’m giving now has nothing to do with any decisions I [will] make as prime minister.
“What a Cabinet minister must do is declare [his] interests and ensure that it is clearly understood that in the past or present he’s had a relationship [with a company].”
The FNM said senior members of the PLP, who would have a say in granting the exploration license to the Bahamas Petroleum Company, are deeply intertwined with the company.
On its website, under company advisors, BPC lists the law firm Davis & Co., run by Davis, as part of its Bahamian legal team.
The law firm of former PLP attorney general Sean McWeeney (Graham Thompson & Co.) is listed as the second firm representing BPC in The Bahamas. McWeeney is a partner in the firm.
BPC’s website also lists PLP candidate for Killarney Jerome Gomez as its resident manager.
“Believing that these relationships will not influence the contractual process to the benefit of BPC requires a level of blind trust in Christie and the PLP — a trust that the record clearly shows neither deserve,” the FNM said.
“If the PLP is elected, the Bahamas Petroleum Company will be another one of many on the long list of PLP scandals.”
BPC said yesterday it believes it has significantly exceeded all license commitments and obligations with cumulative expenditure in excess of $50 million.
“The company is already working to fulfill the increased requirements of this next three-year phase,” BPC said.
Apr 24, 2012