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Feb 15, 2012

Coalition will have Unsanctioned Offshore Referendum

Tanya Williams

The Coalition to Save Our National Heritage had been diligent in its collection of twenty thousand signatures that it hoped would trigger a referendum on the offshore drilling issue. Eight thousand signatures were rejected and by all accounts, it’s over. The process would have to start from scratch all over again. But the Coalition says it will have a referendum, not one that is binding, but it will create its own and call it the Peoples Referendum. According to Coalition Coordinator Tanya Williams it will be held on February twenty-fourth, from seven a.m. until eight at night.

Tanya Williams, Coalition Coordinator

“The Belize Coalition will be holding what we are calling the people’s referendum giving the registered voters an opportunity to vote on the issue of whether or not we should have oil exploration in the offshore.”

Jose Sanchez

“This is not a national referendum where it is sanctioned by the government or the G.G.?”

Tanya Williams

“No this referendum is not coming under the referendum act. If you can recall, we tried to have a referendum on the referendum act, but forty percent of the signatures were rejected. But people were still asking us; they want the opportunity to vote on this issue. So we strategized and we said, well we will have a referendum—it will be the people’s referendum. It is not sanctioned under the elections and boundaries officer, but we are getting external people to provide some oversight to the whole process.”

Jose Sanchez

“So this is something that will be done nationally?”

Tanya Williams

“Yes we are planning to do it nationally just like if you have an election. We will not do it at all the polling stations, but it will be a national referendum.”

Jose Sanchez

“But there is nothing binding. Is it just an exercise to say you’re doing an exercise? What do you hope to gain by it?”

Tanya Williams

“The people will still have a voice and it is an opportunity for government to take a second look. We believe that the results will show that the majority do not want to have oil exploration in the offshore. So it is an opportunity for government to maybe take a second look and decide well we have so many people who voted in the referendum so perhaps maybe we should rethink our position.”

Jose Sanchez

“Unlike other countries who have parties based on certain principles and philosophies, we only have colors in Belize. But you would expect that political parties would want to say if you vote for me, you will have a referendum. Have you approached any of the political parties, independents to say well this is something we’d want you to have as part of your campaign strategy?”

Tanya Williams

“I believe we have individual organization who have done that, but parties have come out on their own and made their own position and we applaud them for that position.”

Williams says she wants people to stay tuned to local stations because the coalition will be providing updates as the details become available for possible voting sites.

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 “Coalition will have Unsanctioned Offshore Referendum”

  1. Malcolm says:

    I did not sign the petition and I hope they will have a referendum here so I can vote FOR offshore drilling despite all their advertising.

  2. Truth says:

    Me too. Against Oil offshore drilling…

  3. Les Kaufman says:

    Being for offshore oil drilling is being against fishing, tourism and Belize pride. These add up to more jobs, more benefits to everyday Belizeans, and stronger values than offshore oil. Oil and other good things can be compatible. Just not through offshore drilling. Look at Deepwater Horizon. Look at Ixtoc. Look at the future of Belize.

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