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Feb 20, 2012

Legal Action a possibility without offshore referendum

Audrey Matura Shepherd

Oceana Belize has taken the brunt of the Prime Minister’s sting over the lost referendum. However, Audrey Matura Shepherd says it will go forward with its own nonbinding Referendum on February twenty-ninth. When asked, the Oceana VP says that court action would come rather than a demonstration.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana Belize

“We were in an atmosphere where we felt—based on the very words of the Prime Minister—that it was a welcomed venture. Yes we say little signs on the side, but the official word was that it was welcomed. Now why is it important for the mandate to be before elections? Man Jules, you better that I know the election process; if the party in power win they will say but see the people put me back in so the mandate is continue what I am doing. And if the other party in opposition wins, they say well we noh get a mandate from the people, we could come in and do what we want. The only two parties that have been very clear on the issue—denouncing outright offshore oil—is the VIP and the P.N.P. let’s be real. So people need to understand that when you go into an election process being that these things called manifestos and promises and so, the leaders need to know in advance that the people are highly motivated and know about issues like these: and so they move ahead with it. You don’t wait until after elections when they are in the euphoria of having won and then you hear all the big announcement of the fist hundred days and hear this issue just get backburner. This is not a backburner issue. The position of the group as a whole; the position of the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage which was decided at a meeting with the membership is that on the twenty-ninth of February, we will have the people’s referendum. So that’s the action. That’s a call to action. It takes a lot for people to come out on a work day to come out and participate. We are being peaceful. We are not even listening to the part that’s saying demonstrate. We’ve never ruled out the court action process and we are very cognizant of how the process could be slow and all the nuances that can affect the results, but we are prepared to go to Court of Appeal and as high as we need to because this is something very important; it’s historic. If we have any government—remember this referendum act was passed by the previous administration, then amended by this administration. They’ve always told us that the people have the power. And so here we are now trying to use this power in a law and then we find that we are being curtailed. So I think if in genuinely any government meant for the people to have a say through the referendum act, we have to challenge it and strengthen that act.”

Matura Shepherd has maintained that the Coalition has not received the list of eight thousand names that were rejected from the signature collection exercise.


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7 Responses for “Legal Action a possibility without offshore referendum”

  1. Rod says:

    Here we go again another illegal African raping our children all these nigerians who bald head let in the country illegally are causing harm rape murder and who knows how many are terrorist which this udp gov. Have let into our country .

  2. western says:

    Just drill the dam holes Belize. We certainly need the money. Why will we not drill when Guatemala our neighbor is beneffiting from oil and mexico is flowing with cash from oil

  3. Bdf says:

    What a dumb @$$ u can be western,we need the money in Belize ,like if from the oil belizeans are the beneficiaries,

  4. Mosh says:

    Make it a date vote “no” to offshore drilling. We need to think about our health and our children.

  5. Rasta says:

    well i would also seh no to oil exploration. Belize needs money it’s tru, but are gonna benefit from it?
    just tink, Belize has no refineries so de oil extracted, hopefully they find some, would be exported and then it would be sold to us at a higher price.
    would it create jobs? jaja i wonder if the people who works in the tourism industry will have jobs after the sea is just a mess and no tourists visiting Belize.

    Just think about it!!

  6. bery says:

    i say ” NO” to offshore drillin caz anyway u take it we wont get anything from the oil. the corrupted government will push it in their pockets and not even lef d crimbs for us to pick up. so instead of ruinin our country and fattening their pockets. It’s a sure as hell ” NO NO NO and NO again.”

  7. western says:

    Bdf you are the dumb @$$. Are you not aware that the government collected over 225 million in oil revenues last year. Are you not aware that oil is our single largest export. Stop listening to the special interest and start reading brother.

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