Thursday, January 13, 2011

Open Letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Dear Prime Minister Barrow,

In a recent interview with the media, on January 7, 2011 with Channel 5 Belize, you stated:

“…In terms of the national parks, we are hopeful that the U.S. Capital Energy people in the south will be able to proceed. Everything is coming up roses in terms of seismic that has been shot. And I’m telling you, since that matter has already went to court, if they say they are ready to drill they will be allowed to drill. That matter I was involved in the issue when it went before Mister Justice Awich and that’s been cleared and so I believe that’s also part of your breech. But while I can’t give you a definitive position on offshore, I am giving you a definitive position on that one. Drilling will be permitted.”

I am shocked that you would make such inaccurate statements about the Supreme Court ruling. As former Lead Council for SATIIM, you shouldn’t have to be reminded of the the 2006 Supreme Court Decision regarding SATIIM v the Government of Belize.   That case was specific to the seismic testing aspect of oil exploration in the Sarstoon Temash National Park (STNP).   You said so yourself in a September 28, 2006 interview with Love FM:

“…we asked for the decision of the forest department to issue that permit be quashed. It has been quashed. The sole release sought was the quashing of the permission granted by the forest department to the US Capitol energy to enter the national park and to conduct and to conduct seismic surveys.That permission has been quashed.” 

SATIIM wanted the Supreme Court to find seismic testing (setting off explosives below the ground to generate seismic waves to test for oil) illegal in the park.  However,  the court accepted seismic testing as “research” as provided for in the National Parks Act.   The court quashed the permission granted by the Forest Department because by law it required an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Hon. Prime Minister, your statement to the press gives the public the perception that the court also gave a green light for oil drilling inside the national park.  Your statement is not only irresponsible, but also inaccurate and misleading.    It is not a done deal Mr. Prime Minister. 

Respectfully yours

Gregory Ch’oc

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a resident of Belize but I support your sentiments - oil/energy organisations worldwide exploit other countries natural resources and destroy community environments and the vast bulk of any 'wealth' accrued is filtered back to the country of origin of that company - the local populace see very little of it and rarely have an improved standard of living. Infact in a lot of cases extremes of pocverty and wealth are created in a very unbalanced distribution.