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Dec 14, 2017

Coalition Says New Law Impervious to Court Challenge

Jacinta Gomez

As noted on Wednesday, both Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte and Leader of Government Business and former Natural Resources Minister Godwin Hulse indicate that no offshore oil licenses exist, and the government has no plans, according to Hulse and current minister Carla Barnett, to issue any. The Coalition’s press release indicates some confusion, therefore, about why the need for inclusion of compensation agreements between the minister for petroleum and affected companies. The second issue in question is whether the new law could be challenged in court by a company seeking the right to pursue oil exploration in Belize. We asked Gomez who said that the current regime makes that difficult. She also said that this is a great example of how important legislation should be advanced.

 

On the Phone: Jacinta Gomez, Outreach Program Director, OCEANA Belize

“We continue to maintain vigilance on the issue, so we continue to support the efforts of the Belizean public and lift their voices to where the politicians can hear it. And as was mentioned yesterday in the Senate by the Attorney General and Senator Godwin Hulse that this is a true example of how legislation and that process should take place – from the people, to the House, to the upper house. So I hope moving forward that all legislation of this national importance takes this. This sets a precedent for future legislation of its kind.   That would have to be aired out in terms of the law from the department of petroleum; you would have to go through the process of applying for a license and that’s public information. You would definitely have to go through the process but with the moratorium as it stands, I don’t think it would be possible.”

 

The Coalition says it continues to advocate for a total ban on oil exploration in Belize’s offshore and protected areas, which the current administration opposes. 

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