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Christie decries oil talk

Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday he is never comfortable when members of his party make uninformed comments to the media.

“I’m always, always concerned when members of the Progressive Liberal Party who are in a position to actually know what the truth about anything is, make comments that may not in fact have come as a result of seeking information from the relevant ministries,” he said. “It just happens to be the kind of process that I’m not ever comfortable or happy with, so it is what it is.”

Christie made the comment when asked to respond to recent statements made by Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Chairman Leslie Miller, who suggested the government ought not be entertaining the Bahamas Petroleum Company in its bid for oil, but ought to be in talks with more experienced companies.

Miller told The Nassau Guardian last week that the BPC should receive greater scrutiny from the government.

He said he is not against drilling for oil in The Bahamas, but told reporters at a Solar Power conference in Orlando that those responsible need to force BPC to explain its track record “or go revisit the terms of the contract”.

Christie said he would have to read Miller’s comments before directly responding, but said there is always a better way to handle such matters.

“Obviously people have the freedom to say what they’d like to say,” he said.

“Within the context of the governance of the country, there is always a better way to do it and the better or best way is to be informed on all of the circumstances and then to speak.”

Miller is a former minister of trade and industry in the first Christie administration.

BPC’s plans to bid for oil have been met with some controversy for various reasons.

Christie confirmed ahead of the May 7 election that he had acted as a consultant for BPC, while in opposition, through the law firm Davis & Co.

BPC also released a statement last week stating it had received a letter from the government confirming that the company has complied with the terms of its oil exploration licenses.

The company saw the letter as confirmation of the government’s “recognition of a constructive partnership toward BPC’s responsible oil exploration”.

Christie said any oil drilling in The Bahamas is subject to the outcome of a referendum.

“We are the Government of The Bahamas, [and] my position is very clear with respect to the matter,” Christie said yesterday.

“I don’t compromise on positions, and so whatever positions I have taken on these matters that will be the position that pertains.” (Nassau Guardian)

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