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Jul 5, 2012

Minister Lisel Alamilla to meet company about damage to protected area

We’ll seek out the B.N.T.U. to get its take on how they are affected by the budget. Another Ministry is seeing cuts but not the type you might expect. The Forestry Ministry is looking into a canal, forty to fifty feet wide and close to four miles long, that was dug through a protected biological corridor by Green Tropics Limited. Latest reports are that several species are unable to cross the corridor because of a development plan that didn’t wait for the ministry’s approval. The sugar cane plantation and energy generation plans for Green Tropics Limited have been suspended pending the outcome of meetings with representatives of the company and the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla. This is to determine whether or not the company will be taken through Belize’s legal system. The company has agreed to pay an environmental fine of over one hundred thousand dollars to the Department of Environment for damages. But it’s not over yet because according to Minister Alamilla, the company violated the Protected Areas Act as well as the Forest Department’s National Park System Act.

 

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry & Sustainable Development

Lisel Alamilla

“The group that is monitoring the Belize Central Corridor went out yesterday and I spoke to them and they did inform me that they saw many tracks that went right up to the edge but they were unable to cross because the ditch is very deep. So it is urgent that we address this matter. But we also need to speak to the developers because we do have to make them cognizant that there are laws in Belize that they have to respect and abide and so we’re going to have a conversation to see how we can amicable address the situation. It means that we will not have to end up in court. That’s what I mean by that statement. I think that the intention right now that the ministry has is that they restore the area and that they develop their plans to ensure compliance with our EIA laws.  Based so far on the communications that we’ve had with Green Tropics, they are willing to make this right. They might have been misinformed and so if that is their intention then we will work with them.”

 

Duane Moody

“In regards to repairing the corridor that was disrupted, how is the Ministry going to tackle that now?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Well we have to get an assessment done of the damages first of all and then we have to decide how that area can be restored because it is an area—form the information I’ve received; it was actually a creek that was there and what they did was they straightened this creek and made a deep ditch. So based on preliminary conversations that I have been having, perhaps they will have to restore the creek that they dug up.”

 

Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Min. of Fisheries, Forestry & Sustainable Development

“There was a law that was broken and we need to address that legal issue—in court or outside court. Secondly there is a suspension up to today of the Environmental screening process so based on the resolutions that the ministry and the minister will make tomorrow. Then we proceed on the environmental impact assessment process, the revision thereof, the public consultation, site visits etcetera, etcetera. So it’s not just an end to it; but they have a prices that they have to go through which is in accordance with Belize’s laws.”

 

Alamilla says that she will meet with representatives from Green Tropics on Friday morning at her office in Belmopan. Green Tropic’s intent is to build a sugar factory, refinery and cane fields complemented with an energy generation component.

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4 Responses for “Minister Lisel Alamilla to meet company about damage to protected area”

  1. Lucas says:

    To show Tropics that we are business friendly, let them get away without any fines this one time only provided they fill the canal back and replant the vegetation destroyed. After getting permission, they can lay as many pipe-lines needed but, each pipe-lines must have a water meter. It is only fair that they pay for the water used. According to the Reporter, the company has identified underground aquifer which the company plans to exploit. they must pay for this water too. If they are allowed to construct an artificial lake, they need not pay for water collected during the rainny season.

  2. Storm says:

    Four miles long? Until yesterday it was reported as two miles long. Someone needs to do a serious, official investigation here.

    Whatever the problem, we can’t let developers — home-grown or foreign — destroy the rainforest God gave us. Have you ever been to Haiti? I have — they destroyed their forests long ago, and they have had so much erosion that little can grow back today.

    Just because foreign businesses have money to spend doesn’t mean their project is needed or appropriate for the Jewel.

    Let’s get this entire business out in the light, let the whole country take a look at what they plan to do and how, and make sure all laws are obeyed.

  3. Eye in the Sky says:

    She will meet with the company.
    They will give her the account number where her hush money is deposited.
    She will turn a blind eye and slap them on the wrist.
    And all is done.
    Her retirement fund has begun.

    Life of a Belizean politician.

  4. Samantha says:

    This is absurd. This is why Belize will never prosper, We are closing the doors on our selves. Belize needs to let investments into the country. With this, there will be more jobs for belizeans rather than having them rob for money. This investment is apporx. 90 million U.S. atleast 900+ jobs. Belize needs the money, take a look at the highways we drive on!! While there are Belizeans crying that there are no jobs, this is why.

    Its not like Belize is making any money having the canal…

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