|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 58 - Friday June 18, 2004|
|No More Oil Refinery? |
Dominica Refinery Pledges Have Fallen Through � Official
06-16-04 06:58 PM EST
ROSEAU, Dominica (AP)--Pledges to build a $2.4 billion oil refinery have fallen through after a company that proposed the idea failed to meet several deadlines, a government official said Wednesday.
A U.S.-based company, Global Resources Corp., proposed the refinery last year, and the Caribbean country's government had anticipated it would be built in the eastern village of Castle Bruce. But the company has missed deadlines to present financial information and more specifics, Tourism and Enterprise Development Charles Savarin said.
"We are awaiting a further response from Global Resources so we can make a final determination," Savarin said, brushing aside a suggestion by one political enemy that he resign due to the lack of results.
Critics said the government was misled.
Banana farmers concerned about the possible environmental effects of the refinery contacted New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council earlier this year to investigate Global Resources Corp.
"We did some researching and Web searches, and we couldn't find anything, which is sort of odd," said Jacob Scherr, director of the council's international program.
Scherr said his colleagues repeatedly called Global Resources Corp. and were only able to reach an answering machine; no one ever returned messages. They visited the address listed in Oakton, Va., which was a town house where they were told the real headquarters was in Reston, Va. - an address that didn't exist, Scherr said.
Scherr said when he visited Dominica to discuss the matter, "everyone was talking about this project as if it was going to happen tomorrow. And to us, it just seemed very far-fetched."
Repeated calls to the company by The Associated Press weren't returned.
Former Attorney General Bernard Wiltshire called for Savarin's resignation earlier this week, saying he should have ordered checks on the company.
But Savarin dismissed the suggestion, saying the government would still consider proposals for the project. He said no money ever changed hands.
Banana farmers still are angry about the delay of a government irrigation project due to the proposed refinery, which was to be built on lands owned by the government and farmers. The former British colony's economy, based on fading agriculture and modest tourism, has suffered in recent years.
Seeing no movement on the refinery, Savarin said the government has gone ahead with construction of a $3 million irrigation system for banana farmers on land previously set aside for the refinery.