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Nov 4, 2011

Coalition plans its next offshore move

And so where does that leave the Coalition? Well, Matura-Shepherd says that they are still collecting signatures, and as soon as the coalition prepares its position on the referendum, they will inform the public. But since there seems to be an impasse, we asked Matura-Shepherd, if there is sense of defeat?

Audrey Matura Shepherd, Vice-President, OCEANA

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“No, I think just the mere fact that we made it a public issue has always been a victory. The mere fact that we were able within three months to get over ten percent is a victory. Where do we go from here? We really had put a pause on pushing the referendum for a while simply because apart from hearing the duplicitous way of talking by the Prime Minister, we realize that sometimes it is best to try and do things in a diplomatic way—let us try reach out, let us dialogue, let us see what we can compromise and put those off the table and then the things we can’t compromise, let’s come up with an action plan. As the Coalition to Save of Natural Heritage of which OCEANA is a part, COLA is a part and many other organizations are a part; we went through a reshuffling. The BTIA then held the presidency—at that time the BTIA representative was Major Lloyd Jones. Major Jones then in his capacity as chairman wrote the prime minister and basically said I want to meet with you; I want us to dialogue in my capacity as chairman. The prime minister through his secretary sends a forthright response saying basically: Prime Minister Barrow will not be able to meet with you in this capacity, full stop. He says GOB’s position is clear. You must proceed with your referendum and government will proceed with the work of the ministry of natural resources in elaborating safeguards to govern exploration offshore and natural parks. What that means is that he is saying plain I don’t care what unu say, I don’t even want talk to unu, I not even wah acknowledge unu except when ih want throw snide remarks like he did to Giovanni. All I will do is I’ve made up my mind and this is what we have. So it tells you clearly that we’re being taken for a fool.  So you are telling us hold a referendum when obviously no matter what the results of the referendum, you’ve made up your mind? Man this is a god complex we’re dealing with here. This is amazing. So I would then say I the prime minister is as genuine as he says and for the people as he promotes himself, let the people’s voice speak. What you afraid for P.M.? The reason the Prime Minister is able to speak like that and laud his superiority over others is because he know that on the twenty-fifth of April when he presented this amendment in the house, it was never about giving people a say because it is not legally binding. If he is really serious about making the people have a say, I challenge him to amend the constitution and put in the constitution the need for a referendum on these type of issues and make the decision of the people legally binding. Then I would believe he really wants to hear the view of the people. I think the issue of the referendum is really an issue that in itself is of national importance. I think we should start a petition that requires that the people of this country let the government know that we want a referendum in the constitution; that we want our referendums binding. I remember talking to Honorable Minister Boots in which he said if anyone would start such a petition that he would support it. So I am publicly saying that he said it to me so that I can quote him to it.  And I will end by saying and using the language again of the Prime Minister in the parliament when this referendum act was amended, what really happened there is like the Prime Minister says; in this case, the amendment was an ass and those who amended it were the asses. Since that is the language we can now use, I feel very free to use it and turn it back on them. And so my challenge remains, let us really have legally binding referendum, let the people really have a voice, let us raise the level of discussion, let us educate and enlighten our people about the issues so that they make right choices.”

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2 Responses for “Coalition plans its next offshore move”

  1. Be Real says:

    Belize needs revenue for development. DRILL BABY DRILL. OCEANA can go and do their obstructions in their own country. I do not like it when foreign agents tamper with Belizean issues which Belizeans should take on themselves. Down with OCEANA!!!! Me nuh care bout wa he seh and she seh. Tell that referendum stuff to the qualified man who cant get a job or to the man willing to work who does not have a job right now. Referendum no put food inna people belly.

  2. belizenfirst says:

    Well said!!! All support to that sister!

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