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May 26, 2020

Environmental Advocate Passes Away

The environmental community is without one of its member tonight. Doctor Candy Gonzalez passed away over the weekend.  Gonzalez was the founder of the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO), and one of the co-founders of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. She is remembered as an outspoken advocate for the Macal River and over the years she led sustained research and advocacy against dams. Today, we spoke with Senator Osmany Salas who tells us more about Gonzalez’s contributions to the conservation and N.G.O. communities.


On the Phone: Senator Osmany Salas, Belize Network of NGOs.

“Dr. Candy Gonzalez, I would call her an environmental warrior. She was very passionate about her work in environmental conservation and advocacy. She was completely committed and accomplished a great deal during her life time. She will be missed. For example, she founded and led several N.G.O.s included BELPO. She was a driving force behind BACONGO for many years. And through her organization she was a driving force behind the Coalition to save our natural heritage – a group of N.G.O.s that successfully achieved the indefinite moratorium on offshore oil exploration. So, that is another one of the many accomplishments that could be credited to her in large part. I must also say that she was one of the founding members of the Belize Network of N.G.O.s that was founded over three years ago to elect the N.G.O. senator and after that the BNN became a coalition of N.G.O.s that has been working at strengthening the N.G.O.s and Dr. Gonzalez was one of the original members of that network. She did accomplish a lot and she cared a great deal about the health of the Macal River, hence her advocacy against dams. She did a lot of research to show what the health and human impacts of dams would be. She kept to it and she was very principled. She never wavered from her principles.   The good thing with Dr. Gonzalez is that she left a lot of her work documented. For example, she helped to put together a guide to public participation which will be a useful tool for generations to come here in Belize. A document, a report that provides some guidance how to do effective public participation and to a great extent that was triggered by the environmental impact assessment – a requirement that when environmental impact assessments are done, it is critical that there is extensive, meaningful and comprehensive public consultation. Not consultation for the sake of it, not in name alone but meaningful. So, that guide to effective public participation is one example how Dr. Candy Gonzalez, although she will be greatly missed, she left her mark; she left her imprint and so her contributions will be felt for generations to come.”


Doctor Candy Gonzalez was also an attorney-at-law.

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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