October 8, 2020
Dear Prime Minister Minnis,
We respectfully write to you today as a follow up to a letter addressed to you on behalf of the Our Islands, Our Future Coalition from Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (“BREEF”) and Waterkeepers Bahamas (“WKB”) dated 2 July 2020, where we expressed our vigorous opposition to the planned offshore oil drilling and exploration in Bahamian waters and strongly urged that you move immediately to cancel all existing licences, reject all proposed renewals and impose a permanent ban on fossil fuel exploration anywhere within our maritime borders (“the July letter”).
In the July letter, BREEF and WKB also mentioned growing support from Bahamians of all walks of life in the form of a grassroots coalition opposing offshore oil drilling in our waters. Since then the Our Islands, Our Future coalition has grown immensely, due to the grave concern that many have for protecting The Bahamas and its economy from a crude oil disaster. More than 40,000 people have signed the Our Islands, Our Future coalition’s online petition to you. We are enclosing a document with those names. The Our Islands, Our Future coalition now has over 50 named supporters, includingBahamian and international NGOs and businesses,and we are growing by the day.
The Our Islands, Our Future coalition wants to provide you with important and relevant information so that your government is in a position to make the best decision for the future of The Bahamas and its coastal economy, which generates $7,696,200,000 and supports 122,257 jobs. We also want to highlight the fact that Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) in their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and their Environmental Management Plan (EMP), are essentially “snowing” the government and The Bahamian people with gobs of meaningless information to make us think they have done their homework and have our best interest at heart. They have not, and they do not. These EIA and EMP documents are not complete, they are out of date even by the company’s own announced plans, and they would not pass any level of scrutiny under international standards.BPC is not mitigating their risk, they are not adequately protecting us from an oil disaster, nor are they prepared to respond to one.
Analysis and reports by two highly qualified experts are attached to this letter. These analyses include relevant points which are clearly enough to guide you in making a decision to immediately cancel all existing licenses.