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Apr 30, 2014

US Capital granted extension to drill in the Sarstoon-Temash

A delegation of elders from several villages comprising the buffer communities of the Sarstoon-Temash National Park is set to conduct an assessment of oil drilling activities taking place within the protected area on Thursday.  The visit, we understand, is being organized by the Maya Leaders Alliance.  While an expedition into the area where U.S. Capital is carrying out exploratory work has been planned, it is business as usual for the oil company.  On April fourth, country representative Alistair King applied to the Forest Department for an extension of the license granted to U.S. Capital for operations inside the national park.  That application came on the heels of a ruling handed down by Justice Michelle Arana a day earlier in which she reaffirmed Maya communal land rights.  Justice Arana pronounced that the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous community should have been sought before the issuance of the permit but US Capital Energy is of the view that the Justice stopped short of quashing the license.  That concession was to have expired today; however, the Government of Belize has opted to waive the deadline until the conclusion of a consultation exercise with the relevant communities.  On Tuesday, that agreement was formalized through a letter signed by the Administrator for National Parks, Hannah St. Luce-Martinez and Chief Forest Officer, Wilber Sabido.  The letter states, “in the exercise of the discretion given to me by law I consider it appropriate to defer deciding on the application for an extension until I am informed as to the outcome of the consultation.  However, in the further exercise of discretion I am satisfied that it would be contrary to the spirit and the literal terms of the recent decision of the Honorable Madame Justice Arana for me to stop the operations for which the permit was granted.  I note that Her Ladyship specifically refused to stop operations.  In the circumstances I consider it best to waive the expiration date stated in the permit…” We will have more on this developing story in Friday’s newscast.

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1 Response for “US Capital granted extension to drill in the Sarstoon-Temash”

  1. venus says:

    Can see the headlines in the international media: Maya declared war on Oil Company/ Government of Belize

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