Tuesday, June 23, 2015. BMG: The National Protected Areas Bill was slated to be read in the House of Representatives on Friday along with changes to supplementary legislation, however several organizations that participate in the management of protected areas, banding under the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) have stepped forward to complain about their treatment by Government.
APAMO Chairman Anthony Hislop says the organization was officially asked in March to work through the process, but after an initial workshop in Belize City the Government worked only with selected NGO’s and failed to follow up on the official positions of APAMO and its member organizations.
APAMO says the proposed changes do not come with a specified timeline and the various partnerships with Government are under threat if there is further delay.
There is also an issue of money, according to APAMO executive director Jose Perez. The legislation proposes that all funds collected by NGO’s managing protected areas would be consolidated and put into one fund, including the head tax collected by the Belize Tourism Board and shared with the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), which is the subject of a challenge in court over the Fort Street Tourism Village.