Thursday, February 10, 2011

PM makes shocking illegal statements

PM Barrow announces that drilling will go ahead in Sarstoon-Temash National Park and wrongly states that such action is in keeping with the law

Today, Prime Minister Barrow today hosted his first quarterly news conference of the year. The two hour long event commenced harmoniously and he soon pleased the public with an announcement that there will be no new taxes. He then dropped a bombshell.
"the Government has no intention in stopping the exploration process, especially not in the Sarstoon Temash Park... US Capital energy  is no more than 6 to 9 months away from actually beginning to drill. And certainly when they reach that point drill they will'
 A public outcry is sure to ensue. Outraged, SATIIM is trying to set the record straight. Joining forces with numerous organisations including APAMO, the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage and the Mayan Leaders Alliance, we are working to highlight the laws in place to protect areas such as the Sarstoon-Temash National Park and the intention of the Government to ignore them.

The statement made by PM Barrow demonstrates his complete disregard for the laws that are in place to protect our country and its people. He claimed that in the 2006 Supreme Court Decision regarding SATIIM v the Government of Belize, the Court decided the "legality of drilling… was perfectly consistent, perfectly in order". This is a fabrication and shows he has gravely misinterpreted the decision. To go ahead with the oil drilling in Sarstoon-Temash National Park (STNP) would be illegal.

To clarify, in 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that seismic testing could go ahead, in keeping with environmental regulations, as 'scientific research’. At no point did this judgment allow for drilling to take place in STNP, even for exploratory purposes. Under the Environmental Protection Act, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would have to be conducted. Only 'seismic activities associated with the exploration phase' were addressed by the EIA that was completed in 2007.

Since the judgment of 2006, SATIIM has been working with local communities and associated organizations to ascertain how development can be approached to best benefit every Belizean. It is calling for the Government to make decisions in line with the law of our country and with the support of all Belizeans.

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