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Feb 7, 2019

Was the B.F.F. Forcibly Removed from TASA’s Board of Execs?

The Belize Federation of Fisheries is at odds again with the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association. The B.F.F. fired off a press release on Wednesday to call out TASA’s board for its ‘illegal’ composition. According to the federation, their reps have been removed from the board, which now only has two members. Nigel Martinez of the B.F.F. says that this new composition of the board puts TASA in bad standing with the Belize Network of N.G.O.’s and they believe that there is also a conflict of interest. Martinez explains:

 

Nigel Martinez

Nigel Martinez, Belize Federation of Fishers

“We want to remember that when the marine reserve was formed, it was a stakeholder driven board. We are saying that in 2016 that changed and when that changed, the B.F.F. who was at the time the vice chair of the board was removed; we were not formally removed, we were just removed. Two senior government representatives took control of that board. Currently that board only has a chairman and a vice-chairman; there are no other executive positions. They have been operating that organization in that manner in 2016. When we brought this to their attention that is when we started to get the personal attacks and that is when we were forced to be removed from the board. The board originally was a nine member board. When they made the change in 2016, they took it from nine to seven and so they automatically removed two members from the board. The original by-laws for TASA clearly indicate that there is a mechanism for when a member is removed how that person should be replaced. They entered into a board meeting with four members; two they had asked to step down and that left two voting members. At the end of that meeting, the B.F.F. was no longer the vice-chair of that board and the fisheries administrator who was originally an ex-officio on the board, because she represents the government, was then named the vice-chair of the TASA board; which is, in our opinion, a direct conflict of interest. Since then, as I have indicated they have only been operating with only two executive positions.”


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