UAE Company Could Take Over Tampa’s Port

02/22/06

Meanwhile, yesterday, Tampa Port Authority commissioners voted to continue contract discussions with a subsidiary of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation. The London-based company is being acquired by Dubai Ports World, the company that could take over operations at 6 major seaports on the East and Gulf Coasts, leading to the furor by both Congressional Republicans and Democrats in the past few days.

Criticism has been loudest from states who’s major ports could change ownership ..Such as Republican Governors like New York’s George Pataki and Maryland’s Robert Ehrlich, as well as Pensylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum.

But Florida Governor Jeb Bush is not so critical. Bush does concede that more information should exactly is taking place and what the function of this company is (roll tape#1 o.q.�work either�)

Republican Florida Senator Mel Martinez released a measured statement this afternoon, saying, “The Administration has done a good job of protecting the homeland, but this particular deal, in light of the concerns raised, ought to be further reviewed�

While Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson says he’ll block the nomination of the Bush Administration’s choice to head the U.S. Maritime Association.

IN a letter sent to the Senate Commerce Committee, Nelson wrote that David Sanborn could end up overseeing his old firm, Dubai Ports World, where he formerly worked. Nelson says that’s a possible conflict of interest..Nelson says his concerns about Sanborn are separate from his own concerns about the sale.

Ahmed Bedier is a spokesman for the Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and a programmer on WMNF. He says that the reaction by Democrats and Republicans is pure politics, and anti-Arab in its tone (roll tape#2 o.q.�improving their own image “)

Yesterday at the Tampa Port Authority, the Authority voted 6-1 to let Port Director Richard Wainio to sign a lease with P&O Ports of North America….If the sale to Dubai Ports World goes thru next month, port commissions would vote again on the issue at their March Meeting.

The only lone Port Authority commissioner to nix the deal was Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms. As reported in the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio asked if Storms was raising objections because Dubai Ports World is owned by Arabs….Storms reportadley retorted that “They weren’t Brazilians who blew up the Twin Towers..They weren’t Chinese, they weren’t Japanese….They were of a certain political persuasion….I’m sorry a member of this board turned this into a race baiting.� Other Arab leaders definitely see racism playing a part in the opposition to the proposed sale. James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said Tuesday that find some of the rhetoric being used against this deal was shameful and irresponsible. He said, “There is bigotry coming out here,"

Ahmed Bedier from the Council on American Islamic Relations feels that the case as well, which is why he blasts Democrats for using the issue to prove their toughness on National Security , but does give praise to Mayor Iorio for not succumbing to (roll tape#3 “whole community knows about it�)

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