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Jan 28, 2011

Oceana says secret concessions are a slap in the face

Environmentalists believe that the devil is in the details of the Petroleum Act. Oceana’s Vice President for Belize, Audrey Matura Shepherd, a trained attorney, believes that the legislation needs to be amended to allow for transparency and to limit ministerial interference in the bidding process for these exploratory contracts.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana Belize

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“What we need to do immediately is ensure that they amend this legislation, section 13 which has been abused. Section 13 we should remove proviso 3 which says that minister can go to cabinet and with cabinet’s approval select contractors other than through a competitive bidding procedures in the following cases:

(A) Where the technical or economic circumstances make it advisable.

I don’t know what technical or economic circumstances have made it advisable to give Paradise Energy a contract over anyone else. Or

(B) Where he determines the circumstance merited.

I mean that is so wide, that’s such a wide discretion. We cannot continue to have those wide discretions being exercised behind closed doors. And this section of the legislations where it says that you should publish in the gazette the areas that will be bid upon, needs to be changed and said that it has to be published in some three or four local newspapers. People in general don’t get the gazette. It has to be that people know in advance. What happens if you allow the competitive bidding process to take place? The government then has to advertize for a while that look block so and so is up for bidding. The days when things can happen secretly just cannot continue. It is absence, it is an affront to the Belizean people, it is a slap in their face and it is obviously saying that the people in this country are really fool, stupid, whatever derogatory word you want use. Because they see previous governments do it, present government do it and what? We’ll  say nothing?”

The first letter from OCEANA to the government is regarding the vacated OPIC block.  According to Matura-Shepherd, one way people can take a stand is to visit the OCEANA booth at B.D.F. Day on Saturday where petitions can be signed.

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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3 Responses for “Oceana says secret concessions are a slap in the face”

  1. Earl Grey says:

    SLAP IN THE FACE……………followed by PUNCH IN THE GUT………………….


  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Many of our elected politicians are lawyers, the law was deliberately written to allow them to do whatever they want without any real oversight. And, I don’t believe Belizeans are fools, most have no clue what they can do to stop this abuse because as we have seen recently, both dominant parties handpick the area representatives with no regard for the real need of those communities or the country & in one case rewarded the loser with a lucrative contract to go away quietly. No one in the legal community spoke up, which only adds to the frustration & sense of hopelessness that now exists among the masses.

  3. indy says:

    What expertise does the cabinet have to advice the minister to select the contractor. Furthermore, the minister doesn’t have any experience in doing so.

    They should let the DOE do that decision.

    This provision is opened for corruption for the present and future ministers.

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