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Sep 6, 2022

Signed Petitions by Save Our Reef Presented to Cabinet

In the wake of that letter to P.M. Briceño, a wad of signed documents were also turned over to the Minister of Sustainable Development last week. Orlando Habet, whose portfolio responsibilities include sustainable development and climate change, received the petitions on behalf of the prime minister who was out of the country on duty leave. Those documents were presented to Cabinet today and a subsequent decision will be taken by the Government of Belize with respect to the concern raised by the twenty thousand signees.  According to Amanda Acosta, the existing E.I.A. process falls short of tackling social concerns being raised by residents and other interested parties.

 

Amanda Acosta

Amanda Acosta, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

“The reality is that the EIA process is deficient in addressing social concerns and the people obviously have spoken.  There was a signature petition that was submitted to Minister Habet.  We have a voice, it’s our country and we have a say.  How that is considered into the process also is not clear or transparent in the EIA methodologies and how it’s assessed.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“The petitions, I am not sure if by any chance the [Belize] Audubon [Society] was involved with it at all.  From my point of view, it doesn’t seem as if though any environmental group with certain credibility, if I could use that expression, was behind that particular petition.  What are your thoughts on that?”

 

Amanda Acosta

“The petition was led by social groups. So it was not led by environmental, and I think when we start talking about development in the country we have to make clear that everyone has a voice and everyone has to… I know that we often see the environmental NGOs as the leads when it comes to these kinds of conversations, but that doesn’t have to be.”

 

Orlando Habet

Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development

“I am not certain what will happen because, one, we’ll have to see the legality of those documents.  We don’t know who signed them, on which authority.  I haven’t opened it.  From what I understand is that they have names and signatures.  I don’t know if they have social security numbers.  I don’t know if they were vetted by a Justice of the Peace, I can’t say because I haven’t opened them.  But perhaps, Cabinet will decide if they can be accepted as such because even if they are signatures and there is a concern from the citizens, perhaps it still has some weight.  But from my standpoint, personally, I think that you can still look at them because to me it’s like part of the consultation process.  So you sign something and if it’s valid then perhaps you can at least give it some weight.  There is a concern.”


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