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Mar 30, 2000

Minister contradicts reports on illegal fishing

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In related news, there does appear to be some confusion in the case involving the arrest of a group of fishermen caught putting nets on the reef on March 9th. The fishermen arrested were Jorge Williams, Ricardo Parham, Gerson Coleman and most surprisingly, Ovel Leonardo, a member of the Fishing Advisory Board for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and a member of the Northern Fishing Cooperative. Officials in the Fisheries Department told News Five that this was Leonardo’s second arrest and the third for Williams, Parham and Coleman. Today Minister Dan Silva told us, this is Leonardo’s first arrest and he will be getting back his boat and engines.

Janelle Chanona

“Now I know there have been some rumours in regards to this case involving Mr. Ovel. Could you clarify what exactly is happening with that situation?”

Dan Silva, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

“Well in his case, we have seized the fish, we have seized the nets. This is first offense and he got back his boat and his engine. There been another fellow, this is his third offense, he will go to court and be dealt with by the court of Belize and whatever the outcome of the case is, we will deal with that. If the judge declares that we seize his boat, then we will seize his boat.”

Leonardo and the other three men were captured with 1,000 pounds of fish, 41 pounds of shark fins, nets, fishing equipment and two boats with outboard engines.

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