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Jun 19, 2015

B.T.I.A. Pres. Says Consultation on Protected Areas Bills was Selective

Osmany Salas

Today, N.G.O.s continue to express serious concerns with two pieces of legislation allegedly tabled before Cabinet. This first is the brand new National Protected Areas System Bill and the second is an amended PACT Bill. While there is general agreement that there is a critical need for legislation, there seems to be almost unanimous belief that what has been presented to Cabinet, and what will likely be taken to the House soon, does not exactly reflect the changes for which N.G.O.s have been lobbying for years. Today, B.T.I.A. President, Osmany Salas, clarified that there was inadequate and even selective consultation.

 

Via Phone: Osmany Salas, President, B.T.I.A.

“It is our understanding that the consultation that has been done in reference to these two bills has been selective, and the information that has been shared at these consultations…that is, copies of the bills have been different versions for different times. So from the information that we have the co-management N.G.O.s were not brought in as one comprehensive group, and have not seen as a comprehensive group the same document at the same time. In relation to protected areas the bill is not an amendment; it is actually the creation of a new, comprehensive piece of legislation that would create a national system for protected areas. So it would not be an amendment. It would be a new, comprehensive law that the objective would be or should be to create a comprehensive system of protected areas bringing in the national parks, the NICH reserves, the forest reserves, the marine reserve – that is the intention. So the initiative behind the bill is a good one, but from our review of a version of the bill that we saw, the bill fails to meet that objective. It does not achieve the objective of establishing a national protected system because it did not incorporate the marine reserves that are currently established under the Fisheries Act, and the forest reserves that are established under the Forests Act.”

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