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Feb 27, 2012

People’s Referendum set and ready for Wednesday

Voting takes place this Wednesday on offshore drilling. Across the country, forty-six polling stations are being set up for the People’s Referendum which will determine whether registered voters support or reject drilling in Belize’s waters. B.T.I.A. and the Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage are involved in the national referendum, which is being organized after the Elections and Boundaries Department turned down eight thousand signatures collected by the Coalition. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports on how volunteers are now taking up the challenge to conduct the referendum.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Peoples Referendum on the offshore drilling issue is an independent venture of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and Oceana Belize. Across the country on Wednesday February twenty ninth, volunteers will operate polling stations to get the nation’s true position about whether or not to drill offshore.

Giovanni Brackett

Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We’re here today; the coalition has set up this training day for all those team leaders and those who will be participating on Wednesday’s People’s Referendum Day. We were supposed to have about fifty polling stations throughout the country—canvassing the entire country—so that voters in every constituency, in every area of Belize can participate and have that opportunity to vote whether or not they want oil exploration in Belize. The People’s Referendum is not to force people to say yes or to vote no.”

Daisy Novelo

Volunteers from every district have joined the coalition to assist in the polling efforts, which has culminated in a weekend training session.

Daisy Novelo, Volunteer, Orange Walk

“For me it’s important to be a part of this historic moment because I have children and I know that Belize is known as the hidden jewel. So if we start to drill in our reef and what will be the heritage we will give to our younger generation?”

Rafael Alamilla, Volunteer, Caye Caulker

Rafael Alamilla

“I am here because I represent our country and we are a coalition that is fighting together to stop this oil drilling that this government seems to want to apply to this community and that’s not happening in our point of view. I feel like at this time, now that we are stronger, we will make it happen and there is no way that we are backing down; not at all.”

Regina Foster

Regina Foster, Volunteer, Punta Gorda

“I am the team leader for PG, we are strategically working with the Coalition and Oceana to help coordinate a very big turnout in Punta Gorda and our extending villages. We have a big load to handle but today’s training was very effective to help us expand our scope of how to effectively approach. We got more facts to make sure we are approaching the community about the true facts about offshore drilling and our position as individuals that our opinion matters. So the People’s Referendum is their time to come out and speak. So we want to be able to facilitate everyone as conveniently as possible, but as effectively and as they said we have to make sure we validate every vote to the right point. So we want everyone to come with their voters ID in Toledo. we are going to make sure we have one position in the San Antonio Village and we have Central Park as our main location.”

Giovanni Brackett

“An opportunity in whether or not something as risky as offshore drilling—whether or not we want it. we know that our twenty thousand signatures were turned down and that hasn’t set well. And today we have tens of people here—close to over a hundred and fifty people here today—who have come out to support. And it shows that we are building a momentum and I think whichever government forms—whether it is U.D.P., BUA or P.U.P.—I think the people here on Wednesday along with the country will give a mandate. We don’t care whatever you stand on—we don’t want or we want offshore drilling.”

The organizers hope that whichever political party wins the March seventh elections, will respect the February 29th Peoples Referendum Poll. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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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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6 Responses for “People’s Referendum set and ready for Wednesday”

  1. Concern says:

    I am neither Blue nor Red, but I think it is important for people to come out and cast their votes on this issue. Think about it, do you believe that our past Governments have proven themselves that they are a responsible Government? What benefits have we seen from the current oil drilling – can we say our infrastructure has been greatly improved? When we get rid of corruption at the highest level, and our governments have proved themselves to be responsible and accountable and indeed for the people, the country, then I will re-consider off shore drilling – but currently, it is a big NO!

  2. Belizean says:

    This whole referendum thing is just silliness and has the intent of distracting people from March the 7th. This is an absolutely politically driven activity and needs no attention at this point in time. By the way, offshore drilling is a good idea. Its “OFF” shore, you heard!!!

  3. Militant Youth says:

    This has nothing to do with politics fool,you can’t be Belizean because you di talking lone !@$$.Offshore means “OFFSHORE” indeed.Not on the land in the sea you duppy.The want to dig for oil in the sea and our protected areas.Look like you don’t eat fish belizean.If you do eat fish say good bye to them if this dumb goverment decides to let the drill for oil offshore.Please do some research and see what an oil spill can cause to Belize if they do drill offshore.Some people are just stupid to think this has anything to do with politics.Only UDP is making it into a political issue.Belizean you are so ignorant , you don’t know what you are talking about so shut the ! up. If they do drill for oil we as Belizeans, yes i said we , but you are not included.We will not benefit from it.They found oil already but what improved? Not a damn thing.For 4 years the streets has been the same. Belizean’s as a whole has nothing to gain.Some Belizeans will gain but it wont benefit the people.Why do you think they are hurry to dig for oil,because their eyes are red for money.They don’t care about anything.That is why they want to drill,they know if Belize goes down the drain they can up and leave when they feel like.IT IS TIME TO STAND UP FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN BELIZE.STOP RUNNING BEHIND THESE MINISTERS,THEY SHOULD BE THE ONE’S RUNNING BEHIND US.TAKE THE POWER BACK.ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

  4. Belizean2 says:

    As a Belizean myself, it is incomprehensible how people are uninformed about the effects of Off Shore drilling and the negative impact it can have on the biggest market the country depends on. That is Tourism. We have to stand all Belizeans together and preserve our Jewel of ours. The is a serious issue and should be accessed in depth before approving such a project. Furthermore, if such a plan get through, it should be nationalized. This way it will only benefit the country 1st and not the corrupt politicians from whatever party the represent. Remember knowledge is Power.

  5. Charlie Price says:

    One “little” crude oil leak will Kill off a large portion of the reef…AND OUR FOOD SUPPLY.

  6. JahKid says:

    I will vote for RED and I will vote NO to offshore drilling. We need to preserve that beautiful sight we have on our cayes and shore. Blessings to Belize and Belizeans.

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