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Nov 9, 2011

Oil Company aims for Barranco Village

In the south, there’s also trouble brewing. SATIIM, the Sarstoon/Temash Institute of Indigenous Management, one of the more established NGOs, is coming out strong against seismic testing taking place in a national park.  The oil company, U.S. Capital Energy, has been spotted since October twenty-fifth in the area and is reportedly resuming testing within the Sarstoon/Temash National Park in the Toledo District.  Led by Alistair King, U.S. Capital’s country representative in Belize, the oil company has established a temporary nerve center in Barranco Village from which all operations in the area will be executed. The STNP is co-managed with the surrounding Q’eqchi Mayan and Garifuna villages, and according to SATIIM, the government has kept them in the dark over a permit issued to the oil company. Trees have been cut for two seismic lines in Sunday Wood Village and SATIIM alleges that more will be slashed in the area of Crique Sarco. Earlier this year Prime Minister Barrow said that geophysical exploration in the south would continue following a favorable ruling for U.S. Capital delivered by Justice Samuel Awich.  According to Executive Director Greg Ch’oc, SATIIM has made numerous requests for information from both the Forestry and Geology & Petroleum Departments concerning the status of an initial permit granted to U.S. Capital Energy in 2009.  Ch’oc told News Five via phone this afternoon that they are still awaiting a response from the relevant agencies as to whether the permit given to U.S. Capital has expired.  He also says that contrary to recent statements made by Director of Geology and Petroleum Andre Cho, landowners whose properties border the national park are unaware of the resumption of testing in the area and neither did community leaders give their consent.

Greg Ch’oc

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“The current situation is that US Capital Energy has arrived in Barranco, to be more specific, and have set up their operations.  This occurred over the last two weeks.  We have been trying to get information from the Geology & Petroleum Department as well as from the Forestry Department from as way back as, I think, April of 2010, after the initial permit that was granted to them in 2009 had expired.  We have not received any response whatsoever from either one of the departments.  So when we learned that U.S. Capital Energy had started operations in the Barranco area we again communicated to the Forestry Department requesting an update on what kind of permit was issued or has been issued to U.S. Capital Energy and to date we have not received any response.  So on Monday we had a meeting with village leaders and all of them, all of them, we had about twelve community leaders from twelve villages in the Sarstoon/Temash region.  We had about eight that reached to the meeting, the others who could not reach was because there was no bus from those communities.  All of them categorically stated that they were not aware, they had not been informed about U.S. Capital Energy’s activities in the area.”

Isani Cayetano

“That is contrary to what Mr. Andre Cho was saying in other parts of the media where he pretty much said that these people were knowledgeable of it and they may have given their consent for this activity to occur outside of the national park.”

Greg Ch’oc

“Well what we found out from the community and even from our experience with the two departments of government is that that is totally inaccurate.  It’s false and it has no basis in facts because I would like for Mr. Andre Cho to disclose to the public, to disclose to the public the documentation that exists where the communities gave their consent or landowners gave their consent because I would assume that all of these would be in writing, you know.  Furthermore, this morning Forestry Department would call us to say, “Have you received all the faxes that we have been sending?”  And I said to them, “We have received no fax.”  I asked them to send us the fax report that would show when a fax has been sent and whether it was received or not because we have no knowledge or we did not receive any fax from the Forestry Department.  The only one we received was from Ms. Beverly Castillo who informed me that the Deputy Prime Minister was unable to meet with me on November first as I had indicated in my letter to him.”

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3 Responses for “Oil Company aims for Barranco Village”

  1. Charlie Price says:

    And WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE PEOPLE OF BELIZE…..cheaper gas???

  2. Bulba Martinez says:

    Charlie Price, not a damn thing but broken bridges, highways, and a kick in the @-$. The beat goes on, just like the logging industry. Adios Belice!!!

  3. veteran says:

    This US company’s cant do what they want in US.when it comes to oil exploration,why?because here in the US the government controls them,in belize,the pup or udp lawfirms gets $$$$$$ big time,in return lawyers of both mafies let the oil company ripoff our belizean land,of the spanish lookout oil no belizean has benfited,but the lawyers in the pup and udp law firms.

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