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Sep 18, 2014

Manuel Heredia on Hol Chan Marine Reserve Expansion

And then there’s the other issue. News Five has verified that the forty acres surveyed for the subdivision is completely within an area proposed for a marine reserve expansion. Information to us is that a formal plan and legislation for management of the sensitive ecosystems as part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve has been before Cabinet for months. In fact, based on anticipation that the wetlands and lagoons would receive reserve status, the Protected Areas Conservation Trust last year issued a grant for the ground monitoring and management of the area. That grant was recently rescinded after Cabinet failed to come through on the designation. So what’s the hold-up? Today Heredia told us it’s a matter of sorting out jurisdictions.

 

Manuel Heredia, Area Representative, Belize Rural South

“There is no reserve, there is no expansion at this time. It is something that was proposed but it doesn’t mean to say that it will be as it was proposed.”

 

Reporter

Manuel Heredia

“And it was proposed just a couple months ago?”

 

Manuel Heredia

“That was just a couple months ago. That is on the record and it is minuted in Cabinet.”

 

Reporter

“What is the keep-back from it being signed as an SI?”

 

Manuel Heredia

“Because there is some of the legislation that overlaps with other ministries… unless they can resolve the differences between Fisheries and Natural Resources, or Forestry…whatever it has to do – then, and only then will it become a reality. My concern, my Ministry’s concern, was the jurisdiction of each ministry, how it will overlap. It was cleared. The Ministry of Fisheries cleared to us that the fees that will be charged are already in effect. It is not additional fees because I have to have concern about the tour guide and about how much additional they will have to pay. So once I was convinced that it was not an additional, I was free to go and free to support this. At this moment it is only the Ministry of Fisheries and Natural Resources that need to resolve that overlapping of their jurisdiction and then Cabinet can make a decision.”

 

Heredia says he cannot provide a time when, or if, the proposal will be approved by Cabinet. If Cabinet does designate the area a reserve, then the Minister’s subdivision within that reserve would have become a moot point anyway.

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