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Apr 25, 2013

Environmental Coalition says Government made major offshore error

Tanya Williams

The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage has issued a press release on claims made by representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities in regards to offshore zoning. The Ministry representatives appeared on our morning show last week. The coalition is taking issue with statements made by the ministry that non-governmental organizations did not object to the zoning of the offshore into different categories. The Coalition has taken those comments very seriously, and today coalition representative Tanya Williams told News Five in no uncertain terms that the government representatives have it wrong.


Tanya Williams, Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage

“There was an error in what the government representatives from the ministry said. They mentioned that no non-governmental organization had ever objected to the offshore being zoned off. What zoning would mean is that some part of the offshore would be opened to oil exploration. In fact, the Belize Coalition last year met with the Ministry of Energy including the C.E.O., Doctor Young, who was on the show and actually made the statement. And we presented an analysis of the zonation framework to them. Within that analysis, it was pointed out that the offshore could not be zoned off because you had to take into account sensitive ecosystems, you had to take into account the need for buffers especially for the oil industry itself for safety reasons. So because of that, the entire territorial water of Belize could not be zoned off for oil exploration.”


Jose Sanchez

“Have you approached the Ministry of Energy for clarification?”


Tanya Williams

“We have. We have written to the ministry pointing out what I had just stated about our meeting when we presented that document to the minister and the C.E.O.; that we also presented a policy brief that included our recommendation on offshore being off limits. And so we are waiting for a clarification from the ministry on the error that was made on the Open Your Eyes show.”


Jose Sanchez

“If the ministry would disagree that what they said was in fact truth. How would that affect the entire issue in terms of court cases regarding offshore exploration?”


Tanya Williams

“I don’t think it has a legal ramification on the case that was in court. What it does have an impact on is how do we go on from here? Are we operating with integrity? Can we really sit down and discuss and believe that the discussions are open discussions and that we are being honest with each other? And it won’t be the next two weeks that you are taking from your partners and your taking it and using it in a different way. So it doesn’t impact legally but it does impact in terms of partnership.”


Jose Sanchez

“Do you feel that the recommendation from the coalition will be taken into recommendation?”


Tanya Williams

“The coalition will continue to advocate and lobby with government to ensure that these recommendations are taken into account when you are looking at zonation of our offshore and onshore as well. And we will continue to advocate with the people of Belize for them to understand the need for us to have the offshore off limits and for them to continue to pressure government.”


Jose Sanchez

“There may be others in the NGO committee who may not be against offshore, but believe that it can be properly managed. Is that something you would disagree with?”


Tanya Williams

“I think each person and each organization should have their own opinion of course those opinions need to be back up by fact which we did when dealing with our analysis. So we don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with what the coalition’s position is. But we know what our position is and we have stated our position which is the problem that we have with the statements that were made.”


The Coalition has written to Minister Joy Grant to request a public clarification of the errors which were made.

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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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1 Response for “Environmental Coalition says Government made major offshore error”

  1. Storm says:

    Tanya Williams seems a strong and thoughtful advocate for her Coalition’s point of view. wish we had ministers who are as thoughtful and well-spoken!

    Yes, ministries must be required to function with integrity, as Ms. Williams says. I’m voting for her for Minister of Environment, and maybe more!

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