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May 16, 2012

Coalition and COLA join Oceana in Referendum suit

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Oceana filed an application on May fourth for leave to apply for judicial review of the disqualification of eight thousand and forty-seven signatures from the petition for a referendum on offshore oil drilling. That application will be heard on June twentieth, but there’s another challenge before the Supreme Court and it involves production sharing agreements for offshore drilling granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources between 2005 and 2007. The oil concession contracts being challenged were signed with Island Oil Belize Ltd, Tropical Energy Ltd, PetroBelize Company Ltd, Princess Petroleum Ltd, Providence Energy Belize Ltd and Sol Oil Belize Ltd.  According to Oceana, the contracts are not valid because the companies do not meet the requirements of the Petroleum Act. The claim was filed on December twenty-first, and today was the second case management session, in which applications were presented by the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage and Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action (COLA) to join the case as interested parties. Oceana Vice President in Belize, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, today explained to the media what they are seeking from the courts.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President, Oceana Belize

“We’re challenging six contracts and those are the six remaining offshore contracts. This case is only about offshore contracts. The scope of it is basically we’re saying—I have been saying for almost two years now that section eleven of the petroleum act says that the only way you can get a contract is that you have to show that you qualify and qualify means that you can show that you have the machinery, the expertise, the money, you have track record having done this and most of all you are actually an oil that has been involved in the business. As we researched these companies, we realized that except for OPEC most of them are just speculators. Some of them were just recently formed here in Belize; the best example is that of Princess, which everyone knows and I’ve been saying for a while is a company involved in casino and gambling and suddenly they become expertise or have experts that they claim that now they can be an oil company. So these are some of the arguments. It really goes back direct to the law, it’s a very straightforward issues and that’s what we want the Belizean people to keep understanding, that when these contracts were issued, they were issued in violation of the law and they were issued almost seven, eight years ago and we’ve told it to government, we’ve found ways to give them time to reconsider these contracts and it has not been done. I must say that the documents we were expecting have not been forthcoming and it’s either that they don’t exist or we’ll see what they have to say before the court. But it’s very interesting how it will go because I think if nothing else happens, the Belizean people for the first time through the court system, will be getting all the information that we could possibly get from the government to see what happened behind the scene when these contracts were issued.”

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1 Response for “Coalition and COLA join Oceana in Referendum suit”

  1. melinda bejerano says:

    this lee kiskedee like di jump aound like e wild!! the white man wants to keep us poor.

  2. aldo says:

    I ‘ve said it before and I will say it again. Wake up belizeans! why are you supporting these people ? they have no genuine interest in belize and its waters. why? because what they do ultimately does nothing to stop the inevitable. drilling has been going on and will continue in nearby mexico and honduras where oceana has no say. a spill there is a spill here. and no matter what 98% of you say in 50 years( probably less) when demand is 50fold everyone will be begging for drilling to happen. the reef will be screwed by global warming anyways. I hate to drill the reef but it will happen no matter what. maybe we should just but our efforts into it being as safe as possible.

  3. Busby says:

    I had forgotten about Coca Cola

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