Group Says BP Ignored Blacks in Pay Out
By Charlotte Young
A year after the BP oil spill mishap in the Gulf Coast, the company seems to be picking and choosing who receives part of its $20 billion compensation promise.
It’s this kind of injustice that has Operation People for Peace in outrage. The group is determined to secure equal pay-out treatment for everyone. They represent the many black citizens whose lives were wrecked by the oil spill that have yet to receive any kind of compensation.
To make sure their plight was heard, the campaign sent five of their high-profile campaign officials straight to the door of BP’s headquarters in central London on Wednesday Aug 3. The Voice reports that the five then set up a protest outside of the building.
The campaigners say that BP has given more money in some areas and less to others, looking to give first to those with political connections.
“We had to come all the way to the UK because they have refused to do anything,” they told The Voice.
“They have met with us 14 times and have promised us they would pay in two weeks then in 72 hours. But we have received nothing.”
Also known as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the spill started in April 2010. About 4.9 million barrels of crude oil and gas were released in to the ocean, resulting in 11 deaths, 17 injuries and countless financial devastation. BP set up the $20 billion compensation fund after the US government found them responsible for the spill.
Operation People for Peace is demanding that the British company allot $488 million to the many small businesses, churches, hoteliers and minorities they represent that were affected by the oil spill. They have filed more than 10,000 claims.
“Almost 90 per cent of our claimants are single parents with an average of two children,” Campaign chairman Dr. Art Rocker told The Voice.
“Their earnings are below the poverty line. They live in geographic locations and are engaged in occupations that were impacted most by the spill.”
Civil rights activist package Gregory told The Voice that he believes Kenneth Feinberg, BP’s representative in charge of dispensing the compensation, “has done nothing but make false promises of payment.”
“I have come to the conclusion that his job is simply to block payments to poor people, not to settle them,” he said.
In response to the protest, a BP spokesperson informed The Voice that Dr. Rocker came to their office in New Orleans several times and that they understand his concerns. The spokesperson goes on to say that claims for compensation due to the oil spill are managed by the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) which administers the pay outs using “their own judgment with respect to the evaluation and payment of claims.” They have so far paid out about $5 billion.
The spokesperson also added that Operation People for Peace had spent 45 minutes speaking with a senior representative of the company even though they had made no appointment.
With the group’s concerns still left unheard, the group is planning to take their campaign to the next level, in a mass call to boycott BP.