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Dec 7, 2022

Chamber and D.O.E. Clear the Air Following Differing Views

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, B.C.C.I. and the Department of the Environment, D.O.E today reportedly met to iron out a few kinks that accompanied press releases that both sides sent off earlier. In their press release issued last Thursday, the B.C.C.I stated its wish to clarify its stance regarding the National Environmental Appraisal Committee’s recent rejection of the Port of Belize Expansion Project. It came after another media house shared last month that: “The National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) Thursday voted on the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Port of Belize cargo expansion, cruise terminal and tourism village project. We have now confirmed that the committee members unanimously voted against it”. B.C.C.I claimed in the release, however, that it voted in favor of the project, and that would mean that NEAC’s decision was not unanimous. B.C.C.I. explained in its release that its representative was unable to attend the meeting, so their vote did not take into account any technical or scientific comments from other NEAC members which were shared at a meeting in November.  Meanwhile, the D.O.E in its release states that the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations regulates the EIA process and does not provide for any of its members, including the B.C.C.I. Representative or alternate, to participate and vote without attending the meeting. There was no virtual or remote participation allowed at the November 24, 2022 meeting of the National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) and as B.C.C.I. states in its own press release, “The B.C.C.I. representative was unable to attend the meeting;” While he declined an interview, Chief Environmental Officer, Anthony Mai told us “The D.O.E. and B.C.C.I. have been in communication throughout the day discussing the issues at hand. We are comfortable at this point in our discussions and have identified areas to improve communications”. While the B.C.C.I. has also not granted an interview on the matter, a B.C.C.I. official informed us that the BCCI is gathering all info and will be making a statement shortly.



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