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Aug 8, 2013

Drill Baby Drill! Former Politician supports oil in the south

Former politician, Alejandro Vernon, in his capacity as chairman of the Toledo Alliance for Progress, has come out as a proponent for oil exploration in the south.  TAP, as it is otherwise known, is a collective formed by the National Kriol Council, the National Garifuna Council and the East Indian Council which was registered in January.  The position taken by the organization comes on the heel of a recent dispute between the Sarstoon and Temash Institute for Indigenous Management and the Government of Belize, concerning exploratory activities being conducted by U.S. Capital Energy within the national park.  While Vernon advocates for oil drilling, he says the request for an injunction to cease oil drilling in Toledo will impede government from realizing much needed revenue to uplift the district.

 

Via phone: Alejandro Vernon, Chairman, Toledo Alliance for Progress

“We feel that a little oil exploration at this time will assist us with the revenue that we need. In fact the Mayas are requesting a lot of assistance through their elected representatives. Now how will the government assist them without proper revenue coming in? This is a new avenue….oil exploration as what is happening in Spanish Lookout with B.N.E.  Government is accruing some millions of dollars there so why not accrue some millions of dollars down here in the Toledo district which government needs.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“How do you know that if indeed oil is found in commercial quantity in the Toledo district that the contracts drafted thereafter will be engineered in such a way where the people of Toledo and by extension southern Belize benefit from a percentage of the oil revenues? How do you ensure that that would be the case?”

 

Via phone: Alejandro Vernon

“Let’s go the other way first. If you do not find any oil, they will pack up their drilling equipment and leave and the land will remain the same. There won’t be any oil spillage so they will leave, leaving the flora and fauna intact. Now if they find oil, because there might be spillage in a minor quantity, we are saying that there should be proper safeguards. Number two, if they find oil in commercial quantity, definitely are going to exploit it. If there are no oil in commercial quantity, they will go and the land will remain intact. Going back now to if they do find in commercial quantities, naturally some money will accrue from the sale of the crude and we are asking for a share from the regular royalties that are being paid to government, we are asking for a percentage to be earmarked for the Toledo district for our ethnics.”

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