My Traveling Feet live on one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and it does not take a rocket scientist to know that mixing oil and one of the most pristine natural resources on the planet is a very bad idea. Belize’s Prime Minister Hon. Dean Barrow confirmed the Government’s policy position to prohibit oil exploration within and adjacent to the protected areas in the Belize Barrier Reef System and just recently the Government made a very positive move that solidified these words.
– On April of 2013, Oceana Belize (together with a coalition of ecologist groups) was victorious against the Government of Belize in court when they fought against offshore oil drilling.
– In that case, Justice Oswell Legal declared six offshore oil drilling contracts illegal because they did not take into consideration the negative environmental impact in those areas and those companies also lacked the necessary equipment and resources to train personnel in the matter. Those contracts were issued by the Belize Government between 2004 and 2007.
– Government of Belize filed notice of appeal, meaning that they intended to fight against the court’s decision. But in a surprising turn of events, the Belize Government later backed off on off on the offshore oil drilling appeal.
This is a great victory by Oceana Belize for the people of our country. Offshore oil drilling does not make any sense for Belize with all its tourist, climate change, maritime traffic and fisheries. It represents a real danger for the coral reef that is a major part of its appeal to visitors.
Tourism is a major industry and key to the development of the country. Reading this gives me hope that GOB will not move forward with granting offshore oil exploration concessions and put in danger one of the most valuable resource this country has. Oceana has been the driving force for the people of Belize to fight this crazy idea that offshore oil drilling can be good. Come on! The negative impacts totally outweigh anything positive that oil drilling can bring to such a delicate environment.
But this is just one victory over many more battles that the people of Belize need to win.
As Prime Minister Barrow confirms his position, at the same time the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology and Public Utilities, along with the Geology and Petroleum Department, are still working on a draft for Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines. Oceana is playing a KEY role in being part of the drafting the Petroleum Exploration Zones and Exploration Guidelines to improve the robustness of the plan.
We stand to lose our reef’s World Heritage Status, we stand to lose our clean environment, lose the one thing that provides for the livelihood of thousands of Belizeans; We Stand To Lose Belize if we allow our government to do as it pleases.
We cannot let that happen!!! (Say No To Offshore Oil in Belize)
So I ask all Belizeans who care for their livelihood, the livelihood of their family, friends, neighbors to speak up, protest, voice their right and support the ongoing efforts of Oceana. Power is in numbers and without Oceana (and friends) I don’t think it would have been possible for us to reach such positive results in the fight against offshore oil drilling.
Show Oceana Belize your support, be vocal about your objections to offshore oil drilling, talk to your community leaders. If we stay silent we only show that we do not care for our Belize.
“The Oceana Belize team, all proud Belizeans, have consistently maintained throughout that we are serious about constructive conversation about properly planning for oil and our collective future. Oceana Belize maintains that when all existing contracts expire in 2016, Belize should not extend or reissue offshore oil concessions. Too many Belizean jobs depend on our marine resources. Our marine environment is too precious to risk. Offshore oil is too serious an issue to rush into. When the spill happens, we will not get any “do overs!” We cannot gamble with the future.” – Oceana Belize
Visit: Oceana Belize Website