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Belize Coalition responds to PM’s commitment to legislate moratorium on offshore oil activity

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2017. 1:39 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage (BCSNH) today issued a statement in response to Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s official announcement in the House of Representatives that his administration has committed and plan to legislate an indefinite moratorium on offshore oil activity in Belize’s territorial sea including its Exclusive Economic Zone.

The BCSNH welcomed the decision and commended Barrow for his decisive leadership.

“The Coalition takes this announcement as a commitment by the Government of Belize to fully incorporate the value of our natural resources in developing a sustainable economy,” the BCSNH stated.

In his address to the House of Representatives today, Barrow stated, “[This is] the consequence of conversation with Oceana and The Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, cabinet felt that the time has come to put the policy commitment into writing. It makes no practical difference since under either regime there is not going to be any licenses granted for offshore oil exploration activities. But it certainly, I believe, gives comfort to those who require some comfort that this is a step beyond just the policy commitment.”

In response to a request by the BCSNH, Barrow agreed that a draft bill will be provided in advance to the BCSNH to allow time for comment prior to presentation in the House of Representatives in October 2017.

Barrow further committed to ensuring that the moratorium is fully legislated by November of this year.

Once enshrined into law, the moratorium would provide the peace of mind that Belizeans deserve on this issue.

Belizeans have been clamoring for the Government of Belize to take legislative action to formally ban offshore oil exploration in Belizean waters since 2011.

Throughout that time, tens of thousands of citizens have remained resoluted about this issue given the importance of coastal and marine ecosystems to our food, jobs and way of life.

The BCSNH  reiterated its commitment to the Belizean people that it will remain vigilant and hold the government accountable to its commitment made today.

The BCSNH ended their press release by stating, “We remain supportive of the Government of Belize’s actions in ensuring that this important legislation is brought to fruition and in ensuring the sustainable management of Belize’s marine resources.”

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