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Jan 25, 2011

APAMO, Coalition and Ch’oc say ‘NO DRILLING’ in Sarstoon Temash

The non-governmental organizations stepped up the ante today calling on government to protect the national parks. The issue of drilling in the Sarstoon Temash has come to the front burner of the N.G.O. community following remarks from Prime Minister Dean Barrow on January sixth that drilling will be permitted in the Sarstoon Temash. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports on a press conference held by APAMO where emotions were running high.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

After the Prime Minister announced that drilling for oil in the Sarstoon Temash National Park was possible, it drew harsh criticism from the Executive Director of SATIIM. Greg Ch’oc reiterated his disapproval in the company of several N.G.O.’s.

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

Greg Ch’oc

“The statement was irresponsible, inaccurate and misleading as it relates to the SATIIM versus Forestry Department judgment of 2006. I stand by my words; I do not wish to read to 2006 judgment or the National Parks System Act to justify my response to Prime Minister’s statement. What I wish to do instead is to challenge every Belizean to demand that government and our political leaders make decisions that enhance and not corrode our patrimony because of vested interests.  The rhetorical question today is whether we will continue to allow our government to circumvent, alter or amend laws written to protect us in order to benefit a few. That issue translates to the urgent matters at hand to drill or not to drill. These are the questions that we as Belizeans in the spirit of nationalism cannot afford our political leaders to answer for us.”

At the Press Conference, the umbrella organization for NGO’s, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization, lent its support and called on the leaders to shield protected areas from oil drilling.

Yvette Alonzo

Yvette Alonzo, Executive Director, APAMO

“The government does not have the proper legal framework nor the human and technological capacity to protect the natural resources and the people from the impacts of oil exploration and production. Clear evidence of this is the fact that the Department of Environment has not been able to ensure that BECOL complies with the environmental compliance plan of the Chalilo Dam despite the fact that they have been taken to Court several times. APAMO calls on the government to do the right thing to guarantee and to implement a ban on oil exploration in all our protected areas and world heritage sites and to respect laws that govern both the management of protected areas and development in Belize.”

Geovanni Brackett, Chairman, Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage

“The government of the day continues to ignore the facts, it continues to live in denial, but the people of Belize should not be in that state of denial. The coalition is not in a state of denial. And clearly as that report shows; we lack the technical capacity, we have not implemented the legal framework, the financial framework needed to secure our people.”

Ch’oc says that the Environmental Impact Assessment in the Sarstoon Temash covered exploration; however, he doesn’t believe it justified drilling. Industrial action or even court action are possible.

Greg Ch’oc

“From those statement, we deduct what we believe would be the next move on the part of government. So we have our options open at this time. Honorable Prime Minister, you have said you would not break legitimate contract. Is it then that our laws which bind and commit us as a people to protect our natural wonders not worth the paper it is written on? Furthermore, are the international conventions that Belize has signed on also rendered meaningless in this country? Are you saying that the only legitimate contracts recognized by government are those signed by special interests groups?”

The chairman of the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, Geovanni Brackett, called on the people of the country to take a stand.

Geovanni Brackett

Geovanni Brackett

“If we as a people do not stand up, if we as a people do not get informed and start move to action, the government will continue with its intention to drill. And it is not that are scared of technology, it’s not because we are scared of development, it’s because we are scared of the very same oppressive system that have continued to drag us down this road. It is because we know how the financial minds of most of these big oil companies have acted in the past, how they continue to act, that makes us take a stand. And we are calling on our government to protect our people first and foremost, to don’t let BNE’s and let the oil companies dictate its policies of the day. But let the people of Belize to dictate how we want our government to run.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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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8 Responses for “APAMO, Coalition and Ch’oc say ‘NO DRILLING’ in Sarstoon Temash”

  1. daveyt says:

    The NGO’s are wasting their breath- this is already a done deal. Money has passed under the counter and there is no going back….

  2. rasman says:

    It seems like you let it that way my friend.

  3. john says:

    well yeah of course . they are wasting their time. why just not let it go.. huh!

  4. sabuskii says:

    just let it go ……… not the attitude people should have all them indians out there pick up ur bows and arrows and find the bulls eye dont play protect our natural resouces nez mac nagata lac chicu…….i learn that in the movie epocaliptu i dont know what it meant but it sound good for this topic……….more fyah

  5. sabuskii says:

    you’re a fool sabuski

  6. prettygirl says:

    We need to stand with them fight with them I know I am tired of these wrong doing we need to stand together.

  7. winston says:

    When APAMO and all the NGO’s bridge the budget deficit and start using the MILLIONS they are getting in donations to uplift this nation and the poor of this nation including the mayas and not only themselves then Greg Ch’oc and Giovani Bracket and all the other clowns can continue putting on this kind of show. If APAMO is not willing to do that…then please shut up. You do not speak for all Belizeans…please get that through your heads.

  8. The People Had Enough says:

    Maybe that’s what we should do on every issue…just let it go. What a sad comment to make.

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