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Feb 2, 2012

Oceana Belize not giving up on referendum

Audrey Matura Shepherd

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage intended to hold the referendum on the same day of the general and municipal elections on March seventh. And according to one coalition member, government ministers have already taken to the airwaves to shoot down the initiative. But the coalition will not give up on its movement to have the referendum take place. The NGO that triggered the move to a referendum, Oceana Belize is not taking the situation lightly. News Five spoke via Phone to Audrey Matura Shepherd, OCEANA’s Vice President for Belize. Shepherd is out of the country but is still on the campaign for the referendum.

Via Phone: Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana .Belize

“We got a letter yesterday from the Governor General in which he indicated that the elections and boundaries has indicated that we did not meet the ten percent threshold. We totally dispute that because before we handed in those signatures, we did not only vet it ourselves, but we also went through a vetting process through an agency that we hired so that they would look and see that the people who sign are people in the database. But we did not have access to the actual cards to say oh yes every r and t and I matches the same. But again we are not writing experts, signature experts; that’s not our forte and I don’t know anyone at the elections and boundaries that has that expertise. The disappointment with it is that in the vetting process run with a thought that they would have then gone and visit with these people and check with them or call them to see if they indeed sign with this referendum because that is what you do when there is new registration and because the referendum is something new, you would follow those kind of processes that are already in the system. It doesn’t seem like that is what they do. So we still need to hear the official version because it si interesting that we started this process through the Governor Genera. We wrote the Governor General so expected an answer from the Governor General. And we subsequently wrote him a letter to ask him to find out if they can also give us an indication officially what were the ground upon which eight thousand signatures were disqualified. We found it amazing that now the government find it convenient to hijack the process and become the spokesperson. I’ve been informed reliably that both the Prime Minister and Mister Patrick Faber have gone on the radio making comments. But we never petition them. And as we have done, it was Monday of this week, we sent a letter to the Prime Minister telling him that it was still not too late for him to present a resolution in the National Assembly to get full support that in deed the issue of offshore oil is of such national importance that it should go to a referendum. Because the referendum act section two paragraph A allows for such a provision. We also were making sure that there was the other option available so that if this government genuinely wants a referendum, wants a mandate from the people, wants to know what the people had to say on this issue, they actually had a process that they could have used—separate and apart from the process we viewed. And obviously they had no intention because tomorrow the national assembly is officially dissolved.”

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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4 Responses for “Oceana Belize not giving up on referendum”

  1. Bulba Martinez says:

    Audrey, they will deny anything that is honest because their illegal Registration of Voters throughout the entire Country is being questioned and challenged within the Judiciial System. Your process will only cause more harm to them in their corrupted minds, so they will not allow you to go forward. Noh worry gial, we di hear and see everyting clearer by di day. Dean, leggo sum mo rope fu heng unu own !-$- noh please?. Good job, knack unuself out.

  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    Keed doing you’re thing Audrey.I’ve always admired the way you conduct yourself from when you useto work for the media.God bless and keep the fight.

  3. Lil-Man says:

    okay enough is enough! the time for talk and half measures is over; it is now time for action. Time was taken out to go and gather 20,000 signiture and yet they find fault and a reason to shoot it down. People remember the governiment is there because of us the voters the people; if we say jump they should ask how high. Since they dont want to listen, lets force them to. How a bout we the people practice pasive resistance and shout down the country for a day; nobody go a work. This is not about any party (Party Politics), this is about the future of our country and our children. Nobody in government or the private sector no go a work for the entire day and the next day if we have to. Scared, this is not the time to be afraid, you have to protect your children future. any issue that makes no sence and affect the counttry we should join as one group and get it taken care of. Stand up people, we talk it up but we no walk it up. Lil-Man say so

  4. Lil-Man says:

    enough is enough people. hold on, a who run this country we the people or the politicians? Hey a we the people run the grease engine; a we elect them. When we say jump them should say how high, no the other way around. We put them there to look after we! We Belize, We. If them no want to listen, close down the country for a day. Nobody from the public sector or private sector go a work and them will sing a different tune. If we have to go two days in a country wide close down let it be. Hey this a no time fi talk this a time for action; only we could protect we kids and there future nobody else. Them and them arrogance ~ Lim-Man say so

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