Chanona says she will advocate for the protection of Belize’s natural resources
Admittedly, the bar which has been set extremely high by Chanona’s predecessor is a hard act to follow. And Chanona says she does have the best interest of the country at heart as it pertains to advocacy for the protection of its natural resources.
“Some would say that filling Audrey’s shoes, in terms of the standard that she has set for OCEANA in Belize, is a very hard act to follow. What do you bring new to the table, in terms of saying, well look you will do an equally impressive job, in terms of addressing some of the environmental issues and what have you, in Belize?”
Janelle Chanona, Vice President, OCEANA in Belize
“I smiled when you said shoes to fill. I have size ten feet so I have really big shoes already. But in all seriousness I am not a scientist. I am not an attorney but I am a Belizean and I love Belize and I have nowhere else to go and I love what’s out there and I think really that’s perhaps my biggest selling point and that’s what really sold the OCEANA leadership team that I want to do this job and do it right. And I think right is might at the end of the day and I don’t have to be anything but myself to get things done and I’m confident that I will be able to use my own strengths to get campaign victories and get results and bring about a better Belize. That’s really, that’s the big picture here.”
“Speaking of campaign victories, what are some of the immediate initiatives that you will be embarking upon in your initial months here?”
“Well OCEANA still has three campaigns going. We’re not backing down from that. We’re still pushing the ban on offshore drilling, we’re looking at the juvenile fish stock campaign to maintain those fisheries and we also have a campaign against gill nets. We think they should be banned. Certainly within the next couple weeks I should be meeting with partners, locally, government and non-governmental, to find out where exactly we are in terms of establishing new goals, new campaigns for the organization. So it’s going to be… I definitely want to meet with as many people as possible so that we operate from that base. At the end of the day Isani we want, and I think, it has been OCEANA to be seen as a Belizean organization and as a Belizean organization we’re working with Belizeans to protect Belizean resources for the benefit of Belizeans.”
OCEANA is described as the world’s largest international ocean conservation group.