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January 16, 2013


richard coulson

You have all the facts right, but you could have mentioned an even worse example of oil being used to corruptly enrich the ruling oligarchy while the rest of the country suffers with a dreadful civil rights record – the tiny West African nation of Equatorial Guinea.

However, there is no reason that Bahamas must follow the paths of that country or of Nigeria, rather than the enlightened examples of Norway or Trinidad.

In your attempt to be impartially ether/or, your column in fact seems to weigh the balance more towards problems and objections than towards solutions and advantages – which may reflect your own personal (unstated) bias.

Assuming a positive referendum vote (which I favor although I think unnecessary), it will still be many months before exploratory oil starts to flow, and even more months before we see oil in commercial quantities.
Thus there is plenty of time for Government, with the cooperation of BPC, to develop a regulatory regime to protect the environment and a financial regime to handle oil revenues wisely and fairly – major tasks but entirely feasible, which I certainly agree Government should disclose before the referendum date.

If we simply start with the assumption that our Government is incapable of performing these tasks, we might as well give up any hopes whatever of improving our economy. I refuse to make such an assumption.

larry smith

I think we have to pressure the government to do anything, especially something as difficult as constructing a framework such as this.

Everything I have read by experts on the subject say that the terms and the framework should be established up front by emerging oil provinces.

There is also the chance that this government will behave as it did with the LNG proposals, but I think the potential revenues will help focus their minds.
Therefore, we need to keep their feet to the fire.

Ken Clarke

A very good and comprehensive article but I too felt some bias towards the government not being capable of framing a proper management and legal regime.

larry smith

Because that is what I fear the most.

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