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Nov 27, 2010

Barrier Reef in Danger and may be delisted as World Heritage Site

Probably the most influential international organization has come out against oil drilling in the barrier reef. The Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has found a powerful ally in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  UNESCO had placed Belize on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger in June 2009, following commercial land sale and development within sensitive parts of the reef. But the recent oil rush has made UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee more than concerned about the barrier reef’s future health. According to a UNESCO document, the World Heritage Committee expresses serious concern about oil concessions reportedly granted within the marine area of Belize and insists that any decision to go forward with oil exploration would be incompatible with the Heritage status. The Committee also urges the government to enact legislation to prohibit oil exploration within the Belize Barrier Reef System on the basis of its status as a World Heritage property. A deadline of February first, 2011 has been set for the government to submit a report on conservation efforts and the measures in place to stop the sale and lease of lands for development within the site. After Thursday’s special sitting of the House, the PM said he was unaware of the UNESCO assessment but would look into the situation.

dean barrow

Dean Barrow

“If what you say is true of course I will be concerned. I know that there has been some back and forth between UNESCO and the team put together by the Ministry of Natural Resources. I know that there is a feeling on the part of that theme that UNESCO did not have the whole picture and that UNESCO was being most unfair. But this latest development that you are telling me about I had no knowledge of. I will inquire.”

Delisting the reef can be a major blow to the tourism industry which markets the corals as part of Belize’s legacy.  Other requests of the World Heritage Committee include that government clarifies the legal basis for the cessation of all new land transactions within the reef.  UNESCO also requests that GOB develop a proposal that would cause the reef to be removed from the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger by 2011.

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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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18 Responses for “Barrier Reef in Danger and may be delisted as World Heritage Site”

  1. ruby3 says:

    Hey, BZNinCALI, this one didn’t take his sunglasses off. Don’t go double standard on me, buddy.

  2. Lindsay Howard says:

    Response of DOE to UNESCO? “You can’t tell us what to do.”

  3. Cutty Ligiyaba says:

    The second largest Barrier Reef in the world should be protected and Belizeans are very proud of

    it. This is a no brainer, they should definately do their oil exploration somewhere else.

  4. Bengal says:

    The politicians don’t care about the reef or any of Belize’s natural resources.
    They don’t even care much about the human resource.
    Crime rate is still, cost of living higher, and the literacy rate rate at the highest.
    Politics in Belize has always been a get rich scheme.
    Lets get elected and then we will steal as much as we can.
    So hell yeah they will sell the land and everything around the reef and one day even the reef.
    There are already so much pristine areas that used to be for the public where you and I as Belizeans can’t even put a foot on. Why? Because these areas are own by Mr Big Shot who is usually a foreigner or a naturalized “Belizean.”
    Because these areas have been purchased

  5. worried belizean says:

    is it me or is this so called prime minister doesnt get his memos or email of some serious information circulating in his own government. the media houses make sure they get updated on all news that is relevant to the country. if that the case pm needs to higher them as his staff so he knows whats going on. he always knows nothing mein this man scary

  6. Makino says:

    Thank You UNESCO. Belize, Please Comply. All actions takin involving our reef must have 2 goal, strengthening the reef itself, and raising awareness about how sensitive an organism the reef is.

  7. ivan cal says:

    UNESCO was being most unfair”, PM comment…..’if what ” U SAY” is true of course I will be concerned.’ Hipocrite DEAN Barrow…u knew what is going on the only thing u’re intrested in is collect the millions of $$$$$$$ from all the concessions given to all those OIL companies U are not intrested in the welfare of our country mr barrow’ …hope all the NGO’s,UNIONS,SENATE, and the Belizean people stand up fi we country …NO OIL DRILLING ON OUR BARRIER REEF..the people are the masters of our country NOT DEAN BARROW ,UDP,PUP,NIP, VIP…LET us stand as Belizeans and save this world heritage site its for our future generations.

  8. Cayo Buay says:

    Time to act is now. Seriously? He did not know of the issues, concerns and stance UNESCO had? Seriously?

    Say NO! to offshore oil exploration and extraction in Belize. We do not need to have our greatest natural monument gone forever.


  9. orlando Hernandez says:

    Thank You UNESCO. Our Environmental NGO’s in Belize through APAMO has been very vocal in this situation but as we all know, If an foreigner says it is is accepted and if one of our own says it is is treated as rubbish. I am not ashame to say this but this is the fact. Shoot me if I am wrong.

  10. intelect says:

    heads will be burst open if such monsterous actions be taken! THE REEF YOUGH????!!!!! When that be bringing in so much $$ for Belize,poor people wah get hungrya and crazya and big guns will start coming out to hit the big lesders, u wach! i dont want dat to happen and i’M SURE others feel the same way. who ever sells our valuable resources we’ll see their brains on the concrete,thats no tret its a money bak gaurantee!

  11. daveyt says:

    Belize doesn’t even have any emergency procedures for oild or fuel spillage from the cargo & cruise ships that visit the country, yet Mr. barrow & his Merry Men claim that the concessions issued will not harm the reef. They say that in the very unlikey event of an oil rig spllage, that the owners will be forced by law to clean the resulting mess.

    Should that happen, it will be way too late for our Barrier Reef, and will destroy our environment and economy beyond repair.

    The Gulf hasn’t even started to recover from the BP oil spill, in fact, the opposite is happening, as oil that hadn’t surfaced at the time is making its way to the shores and wetlands, destroying everything it meets. Even the USA have sat up and begun to realise the devastation that can be caused by the need for fuel and pure unadulterated greed by all concerned. Yet this government claim that all will be well!!!!

    UNESCO will pull the plug on Belize & the Reef, after all, if our government don’t care, why should they? Dept. of the Environment won’t spend anything on the report required, too busy clearing the way for even more concessions, mostly in secret.

    Everything done by Belmopan Bandits is short term, qhuick profit for those in power at the time, and sod everyone else!!!!!

  12. Sasha says:

    Lindsay Howard, you as STUPID AS DEAN BARROW. YOU hear UNESCO & other Aquamarine biologist saying about the endangerment of the Barrier Reef and you people still DON’T GET IT. THE ONLY THING BARROW WORRIES ABOUT IS HOW MUCH $$$$$ HE WILL RECEIVE BEFORE HE GETS A SHALACKING LIKE OBAMA. People get JUDAS out of OFFICE NOW.

  13. BZNinCALI says:

    ruby3, I was busy this weekend & had less time to respond to the news. No double standards, I throw rocks at all of them when I feel they need to be stoned.

    From the reflection on Dean’s sunglasses I think that oil was already glistening off the water. That stuff burns. He was protecting his eyes or could not claim ignorance with a straight face. You decide… No one in their right mind after watching what happened in Louisiana recently, Alaska, two decades ago or anywhere else where there have been oil spills can believe that offshore drilling is a good thing especially in an area as small & sensitive as ours. We need the money from tourism which will be affected by oil drilling & simply killed if there is a spill. Not to mention the fact that we will not be able to eat whatever seafood survives a disaster. I see a no win situation for Belizeans & said that earlier when there fools were discussing this before Dean’s law partner got shot.

    We need to elect Politicians whom we can trust to look out for the country’s best interest & right now neither party seems to be capable of saying no to big money, no matter how dirty.

  14. NuffLuve says:

    This is soo frustrating and annoying – Is this man really that stupid!? Or better yet he might just be down right stupid. For all the education – it’s true – money really cannot buy everything – and this one sure does prove it. C’mon now do you really need to have a meeting to discuss what!? There should be no need for discussion – in reality there should be none – none whatsoever any kind of selling, leasing, drilling etc anywhere for that matter in Belize! We’re NOT THAT POOR that other creative ways of making money cannot be developed. But then again I know better – no one is interested in a long term development of the country – Who cares? RIGHT? – their family has the best of everything now and everyone else can go to hell for all they care. It’s all about what you can get at this very moment. It’s a sad situation since the person they claim to be our leader has no CLUE in what’s more important for us as a nation. I guess when he’s out of term he can go live in another country and live like kings and queens – not like they’re not doing it right now so wake up people and start doing something to make Belize a better place.

  15. Noel says:

    hahaha Sasha, u on fire. I agree, the issue is simple, save, protect, preserve the biodiversity in belize, incuding the coral reef system that protect us from what? hurricanes lol why people dont see this as a disastrous issue (destruction of the barrier reef ecosystem) eludes me just as much as the ignorant comment of “they cyant tell me what to do…” lol its a laughin sad matter, cause this is not the type of attitude we need to collaborate and solidify our stance on the protection of the natural resources that safeguard our lives. NN

  16. justice says:

    Dean Barrow, I hope you and your corrupt band of merry men rot in hell for ruining our country for your own personal gain! All you SOB’s see is money, but when the money run out where will you have to rest your head? Your so greedy that you would even sell the soil from under your feet, but your greed has made you blind, and like the bible say: If the blind lead the blind, they will both end up in a ditch!

  17. steave says:

    dean barrow.stop sell fo we reef.u noh get enough money from us pan taxes.shame as disgrace.PUP people stand up fo u rite……………

  18. Cayo Buay says:

    Barrow is simply repeating what the oil companies are telling him. Same thing the other people that are involved. Listen, no monkey weh seh ih pikney ugley.
    It has been proven that there is 100% risk of oil spilling and it happens on a daily basis in minute amounts and in other ways.
    Read my article on it here:
    Sign the petition here:

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