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Apr 12, 2005

PACT awards grants, launches strategic plan

Story PictureIt is the envy environmentalists around the world… and today the organization called PACT continued its support for grassroots efforts at conservation. Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
The management committees of the Gales Point Manatee Wildlife Sanctuary in the Belize District and the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve in the Toledo District received grants totalling sixty-two thousand, four hundred and eighty dollars. The money was awarded by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, PACT.

Lincoln McSweaney, who received the check on behalf of the Gales Point Sea Turtle Protection Programme, explained some of the threats to the Hawksbill Turtle and how the money will be used to help protect this endangered species.

Lincoln McSweaney, Recipient, PACT Grant Award
?To buy materials such as boats, machines. We have things like the gear, and we will assist the caretaker in some of their daily routine back and forth on the beach. One of the major threats of the Hawksbill Turtle is the human predators and natural predators such as the skunk, the raccoon, snakes, and fire ants.?

Jacqueline Woods
?How are we human beings threatening the turtles??

Lincoln McSweaney, Recipient, PACT Grant Award
?By taking the eggs, by taking the young ones. We have problems with the gill nets, we have the trawlers that come across the beach at night, and outside in other parts of the country we have problems with the long lines.?

For Bartolo Teul of Toledo, the grant money will be well spent to establish a proper management plan.

Bartolo Teul, Recipient, PACT Grant Award
?I think it is very important because it will help to guide us in our conservation efforts, tell us where we can do certain things and where we cannot do certain things. Conservation is not about locking up a piece of land, but it?s rather the wise use of a piece of land. And that?s why a management plan is so important, to help us guide us to do effective conservation.?

During the ceremony PACT also launched its Strategic Plan for 2005-2010.

Patricia Mendoza, Chairperson, PACT
?Particularly, we have been, I would say living under self-government since 1964, but we?ve actually been on a borrowed standard, something that we don?t tend to recognise. And as a nation we are young, we?ve only been independent since 1981. One of the things we can all say about ourselves is we really need to deepen our ability to collaborate with each other and in my involvement in PACT over the last five years, I?ve seen that increasing role of contributing towards that collaboration. I?m also contributing toward being able to leverage strategic alliances to further goals and objectives. It is something that will do us very well in our further development and I think that PACT is poised to do exactly that with this five-year strategic plan.?

The plan of action took one year to compile, but at the end of the hard work PACT Executive Director Valerie Woods says they know what are some of the key issues they will need to address.

Valerie Woods, Executive Director, PACT
?Focus on thee grants programme, putting in some specific targeting criteria to small grants so that it is more accessible to those at the grassroots and community level who do conservation on a day-to-day basis, and for the most part on a voluntary basis. Secondly, to put some criteria on medium and large grants so that we can task the more seasoned experienced larger non-government organisations in Belize on how to effectively manage and to account for the thousands of dollars over a multi-year project that they would get from us.?

In June, PACT will celebrate its ninth anniversary by holding a week of activities. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

The Gales Point Sea Turtle Protection Programme received twenty-seven thousand, seven hundred and eighty dollars, while the Toledo project received thirty-four thousand, seven hundred dollars.

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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