25 different resources in the country, including oil and aragonite, identified to be reviewed

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Parliament Select Committee on Natural Resources toured multiple sites on Andros last week as a part of its review and reporting on the natural resources in the country and their value.

Chairman of the committee, Golden Gates MP Michael Foulkes, along with North Andros & Berry Islands MP Carlton Bowleg, Fox Hill MP Shonell Ferguson, Golden Isles MP Vaugh Miller, Centreville MP Reece Chipman and South and Central Andros MP Picewell Forbes, arrived on the island on Tuesday and toured several different sites and met with stakeholders on the island.

The committee engaged community leaders and business individuals and saw presentations from companies interested in utilizing resources, including The Morgan’s Bluff Investment Group/Cameron Symonette and environmentalist Prescott Smith.

House of Assembly Select Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Michael Foulkes (right) during a visit to North Andros last week. (BIS PHOTO)

“Our interest and the interest of the Bahamian people first and foremost, in our view, is to get the facts,” Foulkes told Eyewitness News.

“There’s a lot of talk in the community. There’s a lot of talk around the country about natural resources. It’s a very hot topic now.

“…We are about getting the facts, whatever they are, wherever we can get them. We make no judgments. We are trying to ascertain the facts. This is not about any particular position on anything. This is fact finding and that is what we are doing and that is what we are focused on.

“If we can determine some facts or someone can help us or enlighten us about natural resources, yes we are prepared to talk to them and to hear what their views are.

“…We are not in any way, fashion or form involved in any approval process for any investment or any group, or any intended investment or any group. That is not our role and we don’t intend for that to be our role.”

The committee also saw presentations by other stakeholders including Randy Butler, Alphonso Smith, Brian Clear and Larry Newton.

Among the areas toured included the forest and well field areas in North Andros, the Red Bays community, Charlie’s Blue Hole, as well as the flats, barrier reefs, sponges and more.

“It’s been very enlightening for all of the committee members. It’s been very educational,” Foulkes said.

“What we have sought to do is really to get the facts. This is an investigatory committee and our job is to get the facts.

“Once we get the facts, we determine those facts as we see them as a committee and we will make recommendations at the end to the government with regard to all of our findings.”

Foulkes has said the committee has already identified 25 different resources in the country thus far that will be reviewed, which include oil and aragonite.

The committee was appointed by the House of Assembly in July 2020 and received an extension for its work until April 2021.

He noted that the undertaking is a mammoth task.

“We will have to see what progress we make. It is looking like we may have to seek an additional extension for us to get the work that we think needs to be done. If it’s necessitated and determined by the committee, we will go back to the House and seek an additional extension at that time.”

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