by Linda Straker
- Prime Minister said oil discovered in Grenada’s territorial marine space is of commercial value
- Nazim Burke questioned timing of the announcement
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has confirmed that the oil discovered in Grenada’s territorial marine space is of the quality of commercial value, and that will bring financial benefit to the island.
“Fellow Grenadians at home and abroad, we can confirm officially that we have found oil and gas in huge commercial quantities; and Grenada is now on its way to becoming a major oil-producing country. So, when we say we shall become the dominant Caribbean economic powerhouse in 10 years – this is neither pipe dream nor no idle boast,” Dr Mitchell announced to thousands of cheering supporters in the New National Party’s last election campaign rally held at the Pearls airstrip.
Grenadians are scheduled to vote a new government into office on 13 March.
“We have discovered one well with millions of cubic feet of gas that is ready to be exploited, and there are several more wells to be drilled that have potentially even larger amounts. This, sister and brothers, is a game changer,” he said, without identifying where the findings were tested and when the government received the report.
Last year government confirmed the discovery of natural gas within the country’s territorial waters but was awaiting the results of tests to determine whether the gas is of a quality the country could benefit from financially. Government had issued a licence to the Russian based Global Petroleum Group to conduct the necessary exploration activities to locate oil and natural gas within the country’s territorial waters.
“The findings are being tested for quality,” Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell said back then, explaining that not all-natural gas found is of the quality required for refining. “The finding is one thing, but the quality is what will make a difference. I cannot and will not count my chickens before the eggs are hatched,” he had said.
In the south of the island, Nazim Burke, Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was addressing supporters when he was informed through a note about the discovery of oil. Upon learning of the news that Grenada had found oil of commercial value, he questioned the timing of the announcement
“And so tonight they want to come on the end of an election and try and tell you they find oil. In other words, they want to try and tell you that only Keith Mitchell and the New National Party (NNP) knows what to do with oil and we will not be able to exploit our oil unless you vote for the New National Party. Tell them brothers and sisters that Tom drunk but Tom not a fool,” said Burke, who told the people that NNP is not serious about oil and gas exploration because of its failure to conclude boundary delimitation with Venezuela.
Calling on voters to reject such a last-minute announcement at the final election campaign rally, Burke said that the voting population should punish Dr Mitchell and the NNP for disclosing such news at the end of the campaign.
“Dr Mitchell is trying to fool you, don’t come the day before the election, don’t come 24 hours before the election and try to pull wool over our eyes. The Grenadian people should punish Dr Mitchell for making simple that announcement tonight,” said Burke who claimed that research was done since 1980 by the Russians and it was then confirmed that Grenada has natural oil and gas in its waters.