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May 14, 2019

Knowing How to Deal with an Oil Spill

Representatives from sixteen Caribbean countries met today in Belize City as part of a four-day training working on oil spill. The training which was organized by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information, and Training Centre- Caribe, is intended for senior managers and contingency planners from national authorities responsible for oil spill preparedness, response, and cooperation. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo has the story.


Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

In the event of an oil spill, the people in this room know exactly what to do. Two years ago, the Department of Environment embarked in updating the country’s national oil spill emergency response plan which was completed in 2018. Stakeholders are now waiting for Cabinet’s approval. Meanwhile, as part of the initiative, four-day regional information training is being held in Belize City. The Department of Environment partnered with the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency, Information, and Training Centre – Caribe.


Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer

“That is a technical workshop in terms of going into now the nitty-gritty how to implement or execute the oil spill response plan. There is proper planning that needs to go into it in terms of emergency response as well. The participants are people from the marine maritime related agencies from the Caribbean but are that somehow responsible for oil spill response mechanism.”


The objective of the four-day workshop is to provide training on oil spill exercise programs and exercise design. Participants will also acquire and improve their knowledge related to oil spill exercises to build proficiency, improve communications, and identify gaps in current plans and programs. One of the facilitators is former US Coast Guard commander Caryn Margita.


Caryn Margita

Caryn Margita, Former Commander, US Coast Guard

“Belize is a very environmentally conscious country and so the development of this plan that the agency has been working on for the past two years is it important because if there should be an oil spill, hopefully there will not be but if there is, then all of the agencies in Belize have properly prepared and planned to respond as quickly as possible to protect the environment and people from Belize from the negatives effects of that oil spill.”


Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria says that the plan involves terrestrial and marine potential oil spill.


Martin Alegria

“In terms of the marine component we have as we all know a part from corals, we have precious mangrove settings, mangrove island cayes. So part of the plan was and is to update and modernize the sensitive index maps, mapping which is identifying these key areas, sites, resources that we need to protect in the event of a possible oil spill.”


The training ends on Friday. Hipolito Novelo, News Five.

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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