Nassau, Bahamas – Speaking notes By Senator The Honourable Keith R. Bell Minister of State in The Ministry of National Security on The Rubis Spill before the Senate 6th May, 2015:
The Rubis Spill
Madam President, members opposite have raised the issue relative to the Rubis spill as they increase their efforts to politicise this serious and sensitive matter.
Let me say at the outset that it is simply inexcusable that a significant amount of fuel could vanish without certain queries being raised and steps being taken. Simply inexcusable.
It is also clear to me, that the present laws which govern the keeping and storage of hardarzous materials are not adequate and the Hon Minister responsible for the Environment has circulated certain bills which will address some of these issues.
Madam President, members on this side and those who sit around me in Cabinet are Bahamians who all love their country and its people. We live in the same communities as everyone and we all wish the best for our people. It is disheartening to see the level at which we have allowed the politicisation of this unfortunate incident to sink.
- Yes there was a serious release of toxins into the water table.
- Yes, the various governmental agencies directed a remediation plan which was in line with international best practise
- Yes there are pending cases against the owner of the facility in accordance with the rights of the affected persons
- No there was no deliberative effort to delay the release of critical information
- Yes, reforms are needed and I hope legislation will be tabled soonest
Madam President, this incident has resulted in a number of matters now before our courts, I will remain respectful of that fact. No person wants their land or home to be contaminated by pollutants. It is a serious issue and I am confident that in the absence of settlement, the courts will do justice.