Coalition to Ban Offshore Oil Drilling in Belize

Public Presentation at the Lion’s Den on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 7pm.

The Great News is that we have reached the 17,000 signatures needed to trigger a referendum on oil exploration offshore and in protected areas.  Now the real work begins.  We need to get the voting population of Belize out to vote.

The Belize Coalition is embarking on an outreach campaign to inform the voting population of the negative impacts of oil exploration in Belize.  The Belize Coalition are planning public presentations throughout the country.  The Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development is working together with them on their first presentation here in San Pedro.  We take this opportunity to invite you to attend this presentation on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 at the Lion’s Den at 7 PM.

Why we are against Offshore Oil Drilling in Belize:

Just a few of our legal concerns:

  1. Our law does not allow for class Action only the Attorney General can start a suit on behalf of a class of people who are all injured by environmental damages;
  2. The petroleum companies have more right over our land than we do yet they pay only pennies and acre (seen in the schedules to the Regulations which is apart form the Act)
  3. The process of awarding contracts is not transparent – Sec.  13 of the Petroleum Act
  4. The law requires relinquishment of areas – who is monitoring to ensure compliance?
  5. We DO NOT have an independent regulatory Board , the Pollution control Board is not Constituted and there is no Common Fund prescribed by Sec.  15 of Petroleum Regulations

Sign Petitions at our office upstairs Blu Gift Shop or print the one attached to the bottom of this page and have all your friends sign it.

Economic Impacts of offshore drilling and exploration – presentation written by Mr.  Edilberto Romero of APAMO

Stop Offshore Drilling

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage got a huge and significant endorsement yesterday, when Elsa Paz the Mayor of Belize’s number one tourist destination gave her support to the lobby against Offshore Oil Drilling.

Mayor Elsa Paz of San Pedro made a call to the Island’s Reef Radio during a talk show hosting members of the coalition, to express her support for the initiative.  A day later, Vice-President of Oceana, Audrey Matura-Shepherd is praising Mayor Paz’s declaration of support and calls it a bold and decisive action that will give important momentum to their cause.  Matura-Shepherd says the Mayor’ backing is already reaping benefits for the coalition in a petition drive to collect signatures.

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice-President, OCEANA “We know that there are about 147,000 voters in this country and we know that if we want a referendum we would need at least 10 percent of that so with 15,000 if it was the petition to seek a referendum 15,000 would be a good figure.  So our minimum would be 15,000 signatures and of course we would want the whole 147,000 voters out there to sign this petition.  But we are already in the thousands and we’re not releasing our figures yet because we are just amazed at the amount of people who call in and they are asking us why don’t we have a website where they can download the forms in our area and get signatures.  So very soon as we start tallying we’ll let you all know.

Jim McFadzean “And now this weekend it’s the Lobster Fest in Caye Caulker and Placencia, those are the only two places where you all will be collecting signatures?

Audrey Matura-Shepherd “Well also we have been told that in San Pedro our affiliates are trying to organize a “hands across the sand” in San Pedro but what we were told after we had our meeting in San Pedro on Tuesday night and after the Mayor gave her interview last night on the TV station, our counterparts called us this morning and say they cannot finish stop photocopying the petition forms.  Even the businesses are collecting it because they say they are so proud they their Mayor has heard their voice and is taking their stand and so everyone on the island who has some kind of influence or connection is trying to get petitions signed as well.

Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage Position Statement

Urgent action needed

TO PROTECT Our Barrier Reef Reserve System and our Protected Areas from Oil Exploration and Drilling

June 8, 2010

Considering that there has been complete parceling out of the entire country of Belize, except for the Maya Mountain, for oil exploration and drilling, it has become necessary for members of civil society to join forces and unite under one Coalition to be able to approach the Government on behalf of the people of Belize.  The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage is to be a conduit of the voice of the masses and will at all times have the best interest of Belize and its people at heart.  All members have pledged to act without reservation to protect our people and their rights to our natural heritage.

The members of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage jointly call on the Government of Belize to:

A.  Adopt a resolution declaring a BAN on OFFSHORE oil exploration and drilling in our Belizean waters;
B.  Adopt a resolution declaring a BAN on oil exploration and drilling in ALL our PROTECTED AREAS; C.  Initiate an open and transparent process to review and strengthen the existing legislations (e.g.  Petroleum Act, EIA Regulations and other relevant Acts and Regulations) to regulate oil exploration and drilling in Belize;
D.  Develop a comprehensive Petroleum Policy and Plan along with an Energy Plan for Belize
E.  Put in place the necessary measures to effectively monitor and regulate the oil industry in Belize
F.  Conduct meaningful consultation with the people of Belize prior to the engagement in agreements for oil exploration and drilling in Belize The Coalition is therefore engaging the larger public to participate in the charting of the course that this country will take as it relates to the future of the oil industry of Belize.

As members of civil society the Coalition brings to light the following concerns:

  1.  That oil exploration and drilling is a matter of national interest to the people of Belize and as such the people of this nation have not been consulted or involved in this critical national issue;
  2. That there is no area in our waters or land, except for the Maya Mountains, spared from oil exploration and drilling in this country;
  3. That the integrity of our Belize Barrier Reef System, a World Heritage Site, is being compromised and exposed to an additional pressure and threat;
  4. That oil companies are not subjected to the requirements that other businesses and the people of Belize have to abide by within protected areas;
  5. That the legal framework in place is not suitable to ensure public safety in the event that there is ever an accident or oil spill;
  6. That there is no legal framework in place to ensure that the Belizean public, as a class, have a quick and direct access to the legal system without waiting for an action by the Attorney General;
  7. That the monies already being contributed to the economy through tourism and fisheries are being taken for granted when addressing the economic development of Belize through oil development
  8. That the lifestyle and cultural rights of our people to the use and enjoyment of our marine resources and protected areas is being threatened;
  9. That there is no transparency and accountability in the way Government awards concessions and enters into power sharing agreements with oil companies.
  10. That the production sharing agreements are not in the best interest of the people of Belize.

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage, an alliance of over 25 organizations, representing the people of Belize is calling for a BAN on oil exploration and drilling offshore and in all protected areas.

We call on ALL Belizeans to support this cause which strikes at the ownership of our heritage.  Our livelihoods and lifestyle will be threatened if WE allow oil exploration and drilling in offshore and protected areas.

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