Categorized | National News

“Gov’t Statement on Rubis Too Late,” Says Thompson

Free National Movement Senator Kwasi Thompson said the government’s statement and yesterday’s press conference on Rubis is inadequate to addressing the worst health crisis in Bahamian history.

In a statement released yesterday, Thompson said the government is now breaking its silence after remaining silent for two weeks in the midst of heavy criticism by the FNM while the residents in Marathon remained exposed to harmful chemicals for over a year.

“The PLP breaks its silence by first issuing a faceless, authorless, generic statement from the Government of The Bahamas, which was followed up by a press conference full of contradictions and an inadequate response one year too late,” he said.
That statement was released by the government on Sunday, where it was announced that Rubis accepted responsibility for the oil spill and assured that screening tests will be provided for affected residents in the Marathon area.

However, Thompson said the government’s statement does not state which ministry or which minister issued it and yesterday’s press conference added nothing new to the statement.

At yesterday’s press conference the attorney general expressed regrets on behalf of the government for the delayed release of the Black and Veatch report, which was already expressed in Sunday’s statement.

However, Thompson said the attorney general had indicated specifically that there was no delay in releasing the report, but now the government is expressing regrets for the delay.

“The PLP again silent on this contradiction,” he said.

According to Thompson, the public should question why both the government and the Rubis held press conferences yesterday, which was also the day of the town meeting in Marathon.

“It would appear the PLP government has sided with Rubis and not with the people of the Marathon constituency,” the senator said.

“It is laughable that the government believes the release of this statement is an adequate response to one of the worse health crisis in Bahamian history.”

Thompson, who is also the FNM shadow minister of the environment, explained that the substance of the government’s statement and press conference is false, according to Marathon residents.

“The statements contradict the statement made by Rubis themselves, who have never publicly confirmed that all the contaminants have been removed and now say they are continuing the process,” he said.

Thompson pointed out that the minister of the environment said during the press conference that the spill has been contained and no residents are at risk.

But if this was in fact true, Thompson asked why would the minister and officials from the Ministry of Environment not ease the fears of residents and disclose this at the first town meeting in Marathon.

He added that it is also false that all affected water wells have been tested because residents have complained that there are wells which have not been tested and they have not been given the results of those that were tested.

“It is also false that residents have been instructed not to use well water as residents have confirmed that they have heard no warning from the government and no warnings were made public,” Thompson explained.

“In fact, the Black and Veatch report specifically revealed that there was an administrative directive from the Department of Environmental Health Services not to inform the public. Who gave this directive and why? The PLP has been silent on this critical error.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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