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Jul 25, 2013

Minister discusses Co-management agreement for National Parks

Lisel Alamilla

The Court of Appeal this afternoon reaffirmed rights to communal lands by Maya Communities. But this morning, Minister Lisel Alamilla had a press conference to talk about co-management agreement with N.G.O.s in protected areas. The minister is caught right in the middle, like she so often is, and N.G.O.s including SATIIM and APAMO are looking to rain on her parade. She summoned the media to her office in Belmopan today and as far as controversial outbursts, Alamilla has few equals. Mike Rudon was in Belmopan and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

All attention right now should be focused on a lawsuit filed against G.O.B. and U.S. Capital Energy by SATIIM and other interested parties. But instead the issue of co-management agreements between G.O.B. and N.G.O.s has taken center stage. Prior to 2008 those agreements weren’t much more than gentlemen’s agreements, but there’s a new version out now complete with legal framework.

 

Lisel Alamilla, Forestry Minister

“The lobbying efforts started with APAMO to get government to standardize the management agreement and to give it legal standing. So that started really taking action in 2008 and then last year when I came into government we were at the tail end of the discussion. I was on the other side of the table during those negotiations and then I became a part of Cabinet and eventually because I knew it was a priority for the conservation community we took forward the co-management agreement for Cabinet to vet. And that is how we ended up with the co-management agreement that we have.”

 

Sounds simple enough…except that APAMO, SATIIM and other NGOs want nothing to do with the new management agreement. They say they were singing one tune after intensive negotiations and then Cabinet remixed their song completely.

 

Lisel Alamilla

“That negotiation happened before, Mike. The negotiation happened between APAMO and the National Protected Areas Committee and the then Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment. All that negotiation happened before. When that is finished then that is taken to Cabinet for them to vet. Then the Cabinet makes an executive decision. That is the end of the negotiations.”

 

Reporter

“But even as a layman you can look at that…because there are negotiations and then it goes to Cabinet and Cabinet changes up everything and then says alright here is the document…then what is the sense of the negotiations?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“But it wasn’t changed drastically so I think it is erroneous…well I don’t agree that…”

 

Edilberto Romero

Edilberto Romero, Chairman, APAMO

“There’s a co-management agreement that has been approved by Cabinet that we as APAMO do not agree with precisely because it allows for third party entries and that’s a huge thing for us.”

 

The third party clause Romero has so much difficulty with was added in by Cabinet. So what exactly does it mean?

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Government is saying if we want to grant concessions in the area we will entertain concessions in the area. But they have to fall under the management plan and what is allowable legally.”

 

Reporter

“But will the co-managers have a say in this?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“They will be consulted yes…they will be consulted…”

 

Sounds simple enough except that APAMO, And that’s the crux of the matter right there. If SATIIM, for example, signs on to the co-management agreement as it stands government will have the green light to allow anybody they want to do anything they want within the Sarstoon Temash National Park, and the NGO would be legally handcuffed. Of course, co-management agreement notwithstanding, US Capital Energy is already doing just that, but the Minister didn’t feel like talking about oil today.

 

Reporter

“Minister you don’t want to get into the oil…you said that you would not get into the oil…but would you go so far as to clarify a point that by that specific clause that was changed and entered…with the third parties…that if SATIIM was to sign onto that it would give free rein to US Capital Energy to continue to operate within the park as well as any other party or exploration company that government would see fit…”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Ehm…I don’t want to get sucked into the oil. We can have another conversation about oil and I think you would need to speak a lot more to the Minister of Energy in that regard…we can discuss protected area and co-management today but I’m not going to be pulled into another discussion…”

 

Reporter

“Okay no oil…but if somebody wants to go cut one hundred acres of trees within the national park, according to that clause in there they would be allowed to do that at government’s whim?”

 

Lisel Alamilla

“Can we have another question? (laughter…) I’m learning, I’m learning…(laughs)”

 

And there you have it…the entertainment value we promised. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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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No Responses for “Minister discusses Co-management agreement for National Parks”

  1. you are in the oil, baby says:

    GOB is like the TV show Survivor.

    Last one not thrown under the bus, owns the country and can give it to their hefe.

  2. Rod says:

    This woman is nothing but a nincompoop she should just shut her mouth till her term is over.

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