The Government of The Bahamas is functioning in a manner regarding the Oban Energies issue, that enables the proposed major investment entity to operate in a non-defined fashion.
Indeed, it appears the major players in Oban Energies have always been one or a few more steps ahead of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and his Cabinet colleagues, because of subtle cleverness. A man, former Oban President Satpal Dhunna, who Bahamians saw very little of, was apparently able to engage in a discussion with government representatives and come away with a steal of a deal in the signed Heads of Agreement (HOA).
The HOA signed in private, prior to the much-publicized fake or ceremonial event with one Peter Krieger representing Oban and PM Dr. Minnis and his frontline team in place, was heavily laden with conditions not in favor of The Bahamas and its people, especially those in the proposed project location, East Grand Bahama.
Two terms agreed to by our government, in particular, were red flags of serious concern, and, demonstrated the shortcomings of representatives who acted on behalf of the Bahamian people. Acting supposedly in the interest of the residents of East Grand Bahama and the wider country, Bahamian Government representatives saw fit, amazingly, to agree to a mere $100,000 from a $5.5 billion investment to be set aside by Oban for community programs and assistance annually.
Then, our politicians around the table agreed to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) obligation, in that the government relinquished its right to terminate the HOA if the EIA was deemed unacceptable.
When there was a huge outcry across the land against the general effort of those who represented the people against Oban, the government backed down and appointed a committee to seek to re-negotiate. We have been told by a reliable source that all the government has succeeded in getting adjusted, was the funding for community gestures moving from $100,000 to $300,000 per year, still peanuts in the grand scheme of things ($5.5 billion project).
Very confident about the signed HOA and satisfied about its legal standing, Oban went ahead and produced an EIA report, knowing that the Bahamian government’s hands are tied.
From this backdrop, the new president of Oban, Alexander Grikitis, has been quite vocal and much more visible than his predecessor Dhunna.
In a sense, Oban began grandstanding, as some have argued, late last year with a $25,000 Junkanoo contribution. So, a crumb was tossed out, and in the process, Oban upstaged a government unable to speak on the issue, or afraid to admit it had nothing new to report to Grand Bahamians and the rest of the country.
Oban has been clever in dealing with the government and Grikitis is, in a subtle way, applying pressure to PM Dr. Minnis and his government, without having to come forward with very much. No doubt, Oban plans to get a lot of positive mileage despite not living up to expectations of showing good faith and assisting in a meaningful way, sporting, and charitable programs.
In essence, Oban, particularly with Grikitis leading the charge, is easily winning the subtle battle against the Government of The Bahamas.
At the very least, Grikitis is a notable presence and speaking readily on behalf of Oban.
In the meantime, our government is silent.