NASSAU, The Bahamas — With the probability of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from an uncapped underwater well until possibly August, the Bahamian Oil Spill Committee projects changing winds to move the flowing oil toward the Western Bahamas.
“The Government has adopted a very serious approach with the oil spill and realised we have to bring in experts,” said Eric Carey, Spokesman for the Oil spill Contingency Committee.
“We went to the International Maritime Authority and the BMA [Bahamas Maritime Authority] put in a request by letter to the IMO. They have responded with two experts here today. These experts will lead the development of a response strategy for The Bahamas.”
The IMO experts will report to Captain Patrick O’Neil with their recommendations of how The Bahamas needs to prepare for this pending threat. They are looking at protecting the Biminis, the west end of Grand Bahama and the Northern Abaco Cays.
“We’re still not seeing oil in large amounts in Florida, so it gives us a little bit more time to continue our preparation,” said Mr. Carey.
“We’ve completed our assessment to Cay Sal and we have a preliminary report on that expedition. It’s telling us we need to conduct other assessments all along the western fringe of the coastline of The Bahamas.”
The Committee has already identified Dr. Ethan Fried to lead qualified persons at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to train for clean up exercises. Civilian volunteers are also welcomed to join.
Representatives from the Bahamas National Trust, the Nature Conservancy, the Port Department, Environmental Health Services, and other agencies will be taking part in training to acquire skills in basic sampling protocols.
“We’re also starting to conduct training and we realise that while some Hazmat expertise is available in the country, we need to have a team of people, hundreds or maybe thousands, around the archipelago to conduct basic sampling,” said Mr. Carey.
“As this oil event continues in the Gulf, we need to continue to have very credible samples.”
Scientists will use the sample gathering to present a timeline to an arbitration committee. The timeline will measure the progression of the disaster with evidence of normalcy.
“If in the future The Bahamas is going to claim to some international litigation process, that the Gulf oil disaster is responsible for effects we see on tourism, fisheries resources, blue holes or other water resources, then we will have to prove that these people were properly trained,” said Mr. Carey.
When it rain it pours. Everyday now, it feels like it is always one thing after the next to be concerned about. I know the recession did not affected everybody the same way. There were people who were still able to take their families away on vacation, shop, pay their children school fees and household bills and do all the things they always used to do, but for others to be able to do these things it is nearly impossible. There are people who are hurting daily and praying to see an end to this recession, so they will be able to get jobs and be able to provide their families with the basic essentials of life. Now with the potential of the oil spill looming over the Bahamas, we don’t know the full impact this will have on our already devastated economy. I hope the government is doing everything in it’s power to protect our interest and to ensure that there is no unnecessary damages to our seas. I don’t want them to look at this situation as ways to pocket monies for themselves, but I want them to do right for all Bahamians. People have been suffering in this country for a very longtime and they can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel, We do not know how much more of this they will be able to take. This is a serious situation and that’s how it should be treated. I respect the government for trying to be prepared and put things in place should the oil spill reaches our shores, but I feel persons volunteering to assist with this project should be treated with dignity and respect. Now, I don’t want to misquote the Minister Earl Deveaux and if I am wrong I would appreciated if somebody would please correct me, but I could have sworn, I heard him on the radio while driving home yesterday saying, they would be setting up tents for the volunteers and feeding them tuna and cornbeef sandwiches, I just wanted know if I should believe my ears or what. Not that I feel there is anything wrong with eating tuna or corn beef. See, what I looking at BP is multi Billion Dollars Corporation, why the government can get them to pay for some steak and lobster or shrimp for the volunteers? I just don’t want see them treating the persons volunteering their services half way, because I feel what they are doing should be considered as important to all Bahamians. This is a risky task that they are taking on, if they were to get injured or inhale the fumes from the oil we don’t know what impact this could have on their health. Also, I feel it the government duty to make sure these people are treated properly and they are compensate if there are any damages to their health and their families are taken care off if there is any loss of life.
The way the FNM Government is treating the Bahamian people Oppression is also here, which can lead to trouble for all of us.
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