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Jun 26, 2015

What’s Up With the PACT Bill?

Today Minister of Fisheries, Forests and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla was in the House of Representatives, surrounded by invited representatives of various conservation N.G.O.s. They were there for the passage of two bills – the new National Protected Areas System Act Bill and the amended PACT Bill. Both have drawn some measure of concern from major N.G.O.s, including APAMO, B.T.I.A., the Belize Audubon Society and Programme for Belize. Representatives of those N.G.O.s have pointed to what they call selective consultation resulting in serious deficiencies. Deficiencies notwithstanding, the bills were pushed through the House today…a day of celebration, according to Alamilla.

 

Lisel Alamilla, Minister, MFFSD

“I will not get into the domestic affairs of APAMO. I think that is their own internal business. Really today is a historic day for the management of the natural wealth of Belize’s natural resources and I think that is what I really want to focus on today.”

 

Mike Rudon

“Ma’am, but some of this major N.G.O.s, APAMO, there’s also Program for Belize, have pointed out to concrete deficiencies in these bills that are about to be passed.”

 

Lisel Alamilla

Lisel Alamilla

“I think that they are misinformed. There is always blue koncas as we say in Creole and so let us focus on what the bill has. The bill is a modernized bill on the management of Belize’s protected areas. It is repealing and replacing the National Parks Act and replacing it with the National Protected Areas Act. It brings all the categories that appear under the IUCN categories. It allows people in certain areas to be able to enter protected areas and to harvest, in a sustainable manner, resources that they were unable to access before, and so there is a lot to celebrate there. I think that there are mischief makers, and I am not going to be focused on that today. I am going to be focused on the fact that the bills recognize co-management which the N.G.O.s have been clamouring for a long time. The bill recognizes private protected areas. The bill recognizes corridors and I can go on and on with what the bill recognizes. The bill recognizes, the PACT bill, will give core costs to protected areas managers so that they can finance the management of protected areas. And those who are speaking really…are they involved in the actual day to day management of protected areas?”

 

Mike Rudon

“Ma’am you ask if those N.G.O.s who are mischief-making, as you call it, are involved in the day to day operations, and I would say yes. Those we spoke to are…APAMO, Belize Audubon, Program for Belize specifically. If you say they are misinformed, then isn’t it the onus of your Ministry to inform them?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Mike I will not let you digress and lead me into this…digress me from what it is that we are here to celebrate. We are here to celebrate the tabling of two very important bills, and that is what we are here to do.”

 

Mike Rudon

“Ma’am, not to in your words digress you, but there are good things in these bills – even the N.G.O.s we spoke to have said it. But there are also concerns. So why is there this hurry to push them through now instead of trying to get wider consultation?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Ten years of consultation is hurrying a process?”

 

Mike Rudon

“But there are concerns, there are real concerns…”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Ten years of consultation is hurrying a process? Let’s get real. We have archives and archives of hours and hours and millions of dollars of consultations carried out to resolve these bills. Anyway I am not going to carry on with that conversation. I am here to celebrate that we are tabling these two bills and there is a lot to celebrate on these two bills. I have been a part of this. I have the institutional knowledge. I have been a part of this from the get go.”

 

Minister Alamilla says that none of the people in the N.G.O.s who have concerns with the Bills have more institutional knowledge than she does.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “What’s Up With the PACT Bill?”

  1. Hatari says:

    If this legislation is enacted, then GOB through this misguided minister will have complete control of the management and financing of our protected areas! This is insane! Do you really want a politician to be in control of our natural resources and the PACT monies that fund them? Yes, there are some good points to the legislation BUT to give full control to a Minister is totally crazy! WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

  2. Disappointed at GOB says:

    Mrs. Blue Concas. Funny! Chistosa! Now we have a natural resource blue concas in cabinet fi true.

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