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Dec 20, 2018

B.F.F. Concerned Over Composition of TASA Board

The Belize Federation of Fishers was also booted from the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association Board and, according to Nigel Martinez; it was because they were asking the right questions. The Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association or TASA is a non-governmental organization. TASA should be free of any government influence, but the B.F.F. is expressing concerns over the composition of the new board. According to Martinez, a B.F.F. representative sat on the board as Vice Chair, but that position has now been given to Beverly Wade, the Fisheries Administrator. Likewise, the chair of the board is Lindsay Garbutt, the Director of Civil Aviation. Both persons are in the employ of government. This, according to Martinez, is a violation of the laws that govern N.G.O.s.

 

Nigel Martinez

Nigel Martinez, Director, Belize Federation of Fishers

“The fact that the Fisheries Administrator was an ex-officio, there was a specific reason as to why, when the marine reserve was declared, that the administrator of the fisheries department be an ex-officio because she also represents the government. She also signs the co-management agreement. So in our opinion when she was moved from an ex-officio to the vice chair of the board she became not only the judge and the juror but also the executioner and that is a major complex of interest.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Is it in violation of regulations that govern N.G.O.s?”

 

Nigel Martinez

“It is in violation of the regulations and that is primarily what the legal opinion has stated. That is the reason why we are calling them to the table. Let us fix this. For whatever reason why it went to that direction, we need to correct it. The management of the marine reserve depends on it.  That management of the marine reserve is not working so we need to address it. The only way to address it as per the legal opinion is to take it back to a stakeholder driven board.”


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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