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Jun 1, 1999

Audubon holds AGM

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There was a time when the annual general meeting of the Belize Audubon Society was about as exciting to the general public as… birdwatching. But today, 30 years after the society’s founding, birdwatching has gone mainstream and environmentalism is almost as popular in Belize as the traditional pastimes of sex and politics. Toss into the mix a running controversy over the Chalillo Dam, a heavyweight ministerial guest speaker and a challenge to Audubon’s P.U.P. dominated leadership… and you had all the ingredients for a night of dramatic entertainment. The tone for the meeting was set by Minister of Economic Development Ralph Fonseca. Never before mistaken as a friend of the earth, the minister-who-gets-things-done told his standing room only audience that Audubon’s goal of developmental balance between nature and people is no different than that of his party’s manifesto. The important point to remember, noted Fonseca, was that we not lose touch with reality.

Ralph Fonseca, Minister of Economic Development

“Our people want jobs; our people want better lives. But today’s Belize is not only one where Belizeans want economic opportunities. It is one where Belizeans are aware of their dependence on a properly managed environment. Belizeans understand that their futures must be balanced with the natural environment. They, however, must be allowed to make choices based on real data, accumulated without bias and processed for them objectively and using state of the art science. We cannot get caught up in cyber babble and fashionable but well articulated incompetence which bare no relationship to reality.

Belizeans want us to work together in the open. Let us disclose everything and not hold back anything. Right here tonight we will commit to continue letting you have the data as fast as we get it and this goes for everything. This Government of Belize understands the need for full disclosure and are directly and transparently committed to the protection of the environment and the wise use of our natural resources.”

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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