Our Islands Our Future implores UK PM and Commonwealth Secretariat to help stop future oil drilling

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Our Islands, Our Future coalition sent a letter dated May 6, 2021, to The Right Hon. Boris Johnson, MP, Prime Minister, United Kingdom (Commonwealth Chair-in-Office) and The Right Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, Secretary General, Commonwealth Secretariat.  The coalition requested their urgent help to prevent future offshore oil drilling as part of a continuing effort to protect Bahamian waters. 

Our Islands Our Future decided to seek counsel given the United Kingdom’s recent policy commitment to divest their national resources from fossil fuel extraction, and the potential for assisting The Bahamas in its transition to cleaner energy sources. 

In the letter, Rashema Ingraham of Waterkeepers Bahamas said, “We request that The Commonwealth invoke its successful record of promoting good governance and transparency among member nations in assisting the Government of the Bahamas to align their public statements opposing oil drilling with action against oil drilling. We simply cannot allow an investor-driven company to run rough-shod over the best interests of the Bahamian people.” 

Thousands of Bahamians and concerned citizens around the world have petitioned the Bahamas government, pleading for an immediate end to oil drilling which puts our entire nation, and indeed our entire economy, at risk. 

Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has repeatedly stated that he is “totally opposed” to oil drilling in The Bahamas. However, in March of this year, Bahamas Petroleum Company announced its plan to secure an extension for its four southern licenses to drill another exploratory well in The Bahamas when the current license period expires at the end of June 2021.  The first well – Perseverance #1 – failed to produce oil in commercial quantities, and final payments for the cost of the well are still in dispute.

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert of Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation said, “The Bahamian economy is inextricably tied to the sea.  More than 50% of our country’s GDP comes from tourism and fishing – our national treasure is in fact the allure of our pristine waters and the potential for sustainable ecotourism as we rebuild from the dual impacts of Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19.”  She continued, “Renewing the oil exploration licenses would place us  simultaneously at risk of a crippling oil spill disaster like Deepwater Horizon, and further secure a future as the unfortunate subject of the worst long-term effects of climate change.” 

In the letter, the clean-energy advocates stressed that The Bahamas faces some of the most immediate and severe impacts of climate change and The Bahamas is woefully unprepared to respond to an oil spill disaster. 

A copy of the letter is attached. Please send all other requests to contact@ourislandsourfuture.org

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