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Feb 8, 2019

Fisheries Administrator: “We did not force ourselves on that board”

On Thursday, TASA responded to what it describes as ‘mischievous allegations’ made by the Belize Federation of Fishers. The B.F.F. is alleging that the current composition of the TASA Board is illegal and been operating illegally since 2016 in contravention of the required legal procedures.  But according to TASA, the B.F.F.’s intentions are to destroy TASA’s credibility and sustainability. The B.F.F., however, is asserting that the N.G.O. Act states that non government organizations “shall be independent of Government control in its operations and management” and since changes were made to the TASA Board, at least two board members are government employees. These members are Lindsay Garbutt who is also Director of Civil Aviation and Beverly Wade who is the Fisheries Administrator. Wade was previously an ex-officio but is currently the Vice Chair. According to the B.F.F. this is a clear conflict of interest. Wade, on the other hand, does not share this view.

 

Beverly Wade

Beverly Wade, Fisheries Administrator

“Fisheries Department did not asked, we didn’t, the Government of Belize doest no get involved with N.G.O.s in terms of how they determine who will be on their board or not. TASA as a co-manager of an area in Belize decided that as an organization, and their funders decided that as an organization, they wanted to strengthen the co-manager arrangement and to make co-management more meaningful. I have never responded to the claim because they are total false but I do believe that TASA sent out a press release yesterday which outlines the board, its membership even portions of a legal opinion that we got to ensure that there is no agenda, there is no sinister takeover of TASA. I can tell you as vice chair that I don’t have anything to do  with the day to day management of TASA nor the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve. But what it has done , as vice chair and as the Fisheries Department is to allow TASA to be much more coordinator with the Fisheries Department day to day programs, it has strengthen the work at Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve and it has allowed us to have the kind of true and closer relationship that co-managers should really have.  I don’t see anything sinister with that and maybe it is a model that we should all look at. The B.F.F. and I want to say this for the record is a member of the TASA board. They have never brought this issue to the TASA board of directors. We found out about this issue as a side thing. And if TASA decides as a N.G.O. that it no longer wants the Fisheries Administrator on their board then the Fisheries Administrator will no longer be on their board. We did not force ourselves on that board but I will tell you that in all my experience in working with protected area management in Belize is it one of the better functioning relationships merely because we have all the important people at that table.”


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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