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Apr 14, 2014

SATIIM responds to Attorney General’s interpretation of court ruling

Greg Ch’oc

This morning, the Sarstoon-Temash Institute for Indigenous Management, SATIIM, as well as claimants from five buffer communities surrounding the Sarstoon-Temash National Park, filed an application for a post-judgment injunction in the Supreme Court.  The objective is to restrain Government from renewing, extending or issuing an extension to U.S. Capital Energy’s permit to conduct exploratory activity within the protected area.  The existing permit expires on April thirtieth.  Despite a recent decision by Justice Michelle Arana in favor of SATIIM and the indigenous leaders against the Government of Belize and U.S. Capital Energy, the oil company has indicated that it will proceed with work in the national park.  In an interview with Attorney General Wilfred Elrington on Friday, he told News Five, after reading the judgment, that the decision to consult with the communities prior to being granted a permit is only applicable to a first time permit applicant.  Ch’oc says they do not agree with Elrington’s interpretation of the ruling.


Via phone: Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“The application for an injunction which was filed today was against the government to prevent the government from renewing, extending or issuing an extension of U.S. Capital Energy’s permit dated April thirtieth, 2013.”


Isani Cayetano

“In some detail can you explain to us why this is so, in light of the decision that was handed down by Justice Michelle Arana recently?”


Greg Ch’oc

“We became aware that cabinet, of a cabinet decision on April eighth, 2014 that they were going to extend U.S. Capital’s permit.  That is one of the reasons why we, the community and SATIIM asked the legal team, our legal team, to file the applications today.”


Isani Cayetano

“Greg, there have been several interpretations to the ruling by Justice Arana, including one in which the attorney general is essentially saying that because U.S. Capital’s existing permit is live that essentially they wouldn’t have to go back and seek the free, prior and informed consent of the Mayan community.  Instead they are simply getting a renewal because the permit is in existence.  What is your position or what is your response to that particular position?”


Greg Ch’oc

“We do not agree with the attorney general’s interpretation that is the reason why we filed the application for an injunction today.”


The application for an injunction is one of two actions unanimously agreed to by the communities’ leaders, following a meeting on Friday.

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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