Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Environment, Featured, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Treaty Energy resumes drilling despite the potential dangers to communities
May 20, 2013

Treaty Energy resumes drilling despite the potential dangers to communities

As we reported on Friday, Treaty Belize Energy’s drilling operations are in full throttle in San Juan Three in the south. The company shares a joint venture with Princess Petroleum and that license was among a list of six that were declared null and void by the Supreme Court. The government is appealing that decision and Treaty Belize Energy will be applying for a stay. But before all that can happen, operations resumed late last week since the company says it has legal advice from Princess’ attorneys; to the effect that it can proceed with its operations in the area. But there is another aspect which is affecting nearby communities. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

San Juan, a small, predominantly Hispanic community, is a roadside neighborhood of approximately six hundred people.  Located just a few miles outside of Independence, it sits in the heart of the banana belt.  Less than a mile away is Cow Pen, an older community with a population twice its size.  San Juan, by comparison, is fledgling.  To aid in its development residents here were promised many things, including the electrification of the village’s water supply system.  These assurances were made by representatives of Treaty Belize Energy, regardless of an oil find.  Thus far, that covenant isn’t being honored.

 

Zabdiel Martinez

Zabdiel Martinez, Village Chairman, Cow Pen/San Juan

“Some of the projects that we had agreed to was to get some materials for the village to upgrade some of the streets, to remodel our police station or even the construction of a new police station, also the fencing of our school, San Juan Bosco R.C. School, the upper campus at Cow Pen Village.”

 

Zabdiel Martinez is the newly re-elected village chairperson.  Along with local businessman Dennis Morey, he signed a tripartite agreement with Treaty for the improvement of both communities.  Morey, who operates a trucking company and is currently mining sand and gravel from the banks of a nearby river, is more than willing to assist in the development of the twin villages.

 

Dennis Morey

Dennis Morey, Trucker

“I made an agreement with Cow Pen/San Juan village council to supply materials to [Treaty Belize Energy] petroleum company for the upkeep of their base, where they’re doing their drilling and the access roads in and out and other road maintenance within, which would be occurring from time to time within the villages of which a percentage goes to the village council from my behalf.”

 

To do so, Morey would give five percent of his total earnings from an existing contract with Treaty to the village council, monies that are earmarked for public service.  The initial agreement was for Treaty to purchase a minimum of two hundred loads of material to fill the roads leading to and from the San Juan Three well.  In turn, the village would receive a small portion of the proceeds.  That has not been the case.

 

Dennis Morey

“The village council really needs the percentage that they are getting.  It’s a small percentage but yet it counts and when we add up two hundred loads at five dollars a load alright, that’s an extra thousand dollars that the village council would be getting that they could put into different infrastructure, helping out the villagers within the village.”

 

While the company is yet to honor those agreements there are other concerns.  San Juan Three, as the site is referred to, is an unsecured location with what are seemingly inadequate precautions.  It is smack-dab between San Juan and Cow Pen.  The area is not walled off from the public nor is it manned with proper security personnel.

 

Zabdiel Martinez

“The fencing for security is poor.  Anybody can go in there, animals can go in there, children can go in there.  So, in that I feel that the company itself has failed in that.”

 

That sentiment is echoed by an erstwhile worker.

 

Voice of: Former Employee, Treaty Belize Energy

“No consultation was made concerning safety in that region.  Treaty didn’t meet with the village community.  I know they met with leaders of the community.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“As a former employee, what were some of your concerns with regards to going into that community and carrying out this exercise without first adhering to certain standard procedures and secondly, without informing the residents of the potential hazards that come along with this type of activity?”

 

Former Employee

“Isani, it’s of great interest because people could be hurt, the population of the village could be hurt, so they should have done some kind of seminar to let people be aware of what’s taking place.”

 

Notwithstanding the lack of public awareness, residents are cautiously optimistic of an oil find.  Striking black gold here could stir economic activity for the entire area.  San Juan would also be the epicenter of the oil industry in South Stann Creek.

 

Zabdiel Martinez

“The company is saying if we do find oil there’s going to be development.  Development is going to be high in this area thus, some of the sentiments from the people are saying hopefully they find oil.  Since we are having a lack of assistance from central government, you know, I think we rely on other organizations or projects that can come in and help our villages, you know.  So people were saying [that] if they do find oil then probably we’re going to have a new school, a new computer lab, a new police station.  So that was their sentiment.  I think they were just hoping for the projects to happen.”

 

Those expectations are proving to be lofty.  With no immediate signs of success there is a certain possibility that the company, at the end of exploration, will relocate and instead of leaving behind proper roads and drainage its wake will only be a boulevard of broken dreams. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

Efforts to get comment from local representatives of Treaty Belize Energy have been unsuccessful.

Be Sociable, Share!


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.

Advertise Here

9 Responses for “Treaty Energy resumes drilling despite the potential dangers to communities”

  1. Rod says:

    The public needs to march to this site and destroy all equipment then lock up all involved move belizeans move

  2. Storm says:

    Even if PM/lawyer Barrow advises the company to ignore the court order, the people of these villages are not powerless.

    1. They can organize so that nobody in the villages will work for or help Treaty Energy.

    2. They can learn about their Constitutional power to arrest lawbreakers, and decide if they should arrest people who are drilling for oil with no valid contract, as the court has determined.

    3. They can carry out peaceful demonstrations to interfere with and stop the illegal operations of Treaty Energy.

    When GOB refuses to follow or enforce the law, we all still have our collective rights — after all, GOB was elected by us to do what we want, not what Barrow, or Vega or any other crooked politician wants for himself. That practice has to change, and now is a good time to start changing it.

  3. venus says:

    Oil companies all over the world normally promise communities a paradise before drilling. However these communities usually end up living in hell after the wealth is taken out. Come on Belize we have been taken for a ride by promises of the politicians for far too long. Now we are taking the same forbidden apple of the oil companies who rule the politicians.

  4. ceo says:

    WHO RUNS THE COUNTRY?

  5. Abigail says:

    Like always, “the big fish eats the Little fishes”

  6. Dylcia says:

    Why do we have to rely on these companies for development of our comunities? Isn’t that the Government’s responsibility? These oil companies could care less about the people, all they want is,the gold, and too bad our Government is not protecting its own people!!!

  7. Yeroz says:

    This oil company only cares about making money for themselves and for the politicians that gave them the contract. They come with all great plans to develop the area,- where have we heard this before???(oh yes, just last year)-I am thinking that maybe the oil company was instructed to use this type of sweet talking by the same politicians. “We will do this, we will do that”….empty barrels!!, empty barrels!!! oh ok, maybe they are not really empty barrels, they are ‘barrels full of (this)’ (ha, ha, remember standard 3 English class, unscramble the word). I say to Treaty Belize Energy, “keep your word and do what you said you will do if you don’t want us to think that you are full of that/”

  8. israel says:

    I am assured, what is it was already discussed.

  9. Frelin (Houston) says:

    In small village like San Juan things can change every ten year if they are lucky. So lets Hope they look at San Juan as something that the Government can get something out of. Unfortunately is not a big city that they can tax but they have resources and a lot of talented people.

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*