Roseau, Dominica – January 24, 2008…………. Former Energy Minister and Minister with responsibility for PetroCaribe affairs, Hon. Reginald Austrie has confirmed that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted with respect to the construction of the Fuel Storage and Distribution Facility at Jimmit.
The Minister made the disclosure in response to a claim made by the former President of the Waitukubuli Ecological Foundation(WEF), Mr. Bernard Wiltshire that Hon. Reginald Austrie and by extension the Government of Dominica had lied to the people of Dominica and had not conducted an EIA with respect to the construction of the Venezuelan-funded US$20 million facility now nearing completion at Jimmit.
Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Hon. Reginald Austrie demanded an apology from the former acting Attorney General and threatened legal action should the apology not be forthcoming.
The Minister for Housing, Lands and Telecommunications said further that the statement echoed by Mr. Wiltshire was “a personal attack against my credibility. I believe that much damage has been done to my credibility, to my profession based on those statements and has further indicted the government by saying to the international community that you must not listen to whatever the government says because the government is a lying government”.
Hon. Austrie also revealed that he had consulted his lawyers on the matter. “I have consulted my lawyers on that matter and we are researching. I am asking for a public apology from Mr. Wiltshire for what I consider to be a blistering attack against my character; and the details of that apology will be communicated to him through my solicitors in the stipulated time we want it, how we want it done, and if that apology is not forthcoming, then I will take the appropriate action because I have to clear my good name,” the Minister stated
At the press conference Hon. Austrie presented the Environmental Impact Assessment entitled: Environmental Impact Assessment for the project: Oil Derivative Products, Infrastructure and Marine Facilities in Dominica.
The Fuel Storage and Distribution facility is expected to be completed by the end of February, 2008.
“All opportunities have been taken to ensure that the Fuel Storage facility at Jimmit is environmentally safe and environmentally friendly,” the Minister confirmed.
Dominica is among thirteen Caribbean countries who have signed up to the PetroCaribe initiative through which Caribbean and Latin American countries will receive petroleum and petroleum products from Venezuela on preferential terms. (Ends)