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Jan 17, 2011

SATIIM’s letter to Prime Minister about drilling in national park

SATIIM, which co-manages the Sarstoon Temash National Park in the south, is challenging the validity of comments recently made by the Prime Minister.  According to Greg Ch’oc, SATIIM’s Executive Director, while the PM told the media that he hadn’t made up his mind about offshore drilling, he had a definite position regarding drilling in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, which he said would be permitted. Ch’oc referenced a 2006 Supreme Court decision regarding SATIIM and the government. News Five spoke to Ch’oc earlier today via phone regarding why he wrote this open letter to the Prime Minister.

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

Greg Ch’oc

“My position is, and I circulated a letter to the media, to say that that statement is inaccurate, irresponsible and misleading because the specific case that the Prime Minister is talking about, of which he was SATIIM’s lead counsel, [ahm] focused specifically on the seismic testing. SATIIM wanted the court to find that seismic testing is illegal in the park. However, the court accepted seismic testing as research because in the national parks act it states that there will be research conducted to understand the ecological characteristics of the national park or the protected area to better manage it. So the court accepted that in fact seismic testing is research. So what we were trying have the Court determine is that again seismic testing is illegal inside the park. The court squashed the permission because Forestry Department was not requiring that U.S. Capital Energy conduct an environmental impact assessment as stipulated by law, the environmental protection act. So I believe that the Prime Minister saying that this has already been ventilated in Court and the green light is given I think is inaccurate because there are other policies and legal issues that the government need to undertake should they proceed with giving U.S. Capital Energy permission to drill inside the National Park. The rule of law is fundamental. There are laws that establish the Sarstoon Temash National Park and any decision to change that; there is a process for doing that. So I think that has to be fundamentally addressed b y the government.”

According to Ch’oc’s letter, drilling at the National Park is not a done deal.

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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2 Responses for “SATIIM’s letter to Prime Minister about drilling in national park”

  1. REGGIE says:

    Mr.Cho”OC”S glad to see you standing up for the rite thing to happen.This Pm is only about money.All the Country that have Oil only a few is rich while the average people stay poor.Pm forget where is came from.Now as the Prime Minister Of Bze.he think he own the country and the people.He can do what he want.But what goes around come around.He change all Law to suite himslef and other in his G.O.B, Unless you guys get together and protest and show the world what a corrupt Leader we have nothing will change.Start Protest Get the Media Involve.stop the people from entering the area they want to drill or hire a few Guat. to protect the area.we must start to make some of our protected area a hostile area for anyone who want to come in n destroy for a few $ in some of the Minister Pocket.Shake a Leg and Make a move my People.

  2. daveyt says:

    No point Reggie. I have no doubt that the groundwork has already been done in the national park, and drilling will start soon. Next will be a road, and possibly a pipeline to take the oil to Big Creek. No doubt the park will be declared as no longer protected by the GOB, just n time for that to happen!!!! God Help Belize….

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