Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2023. 7:36 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management Orlando Habet, in coordination with the Department of the Environment (DOE) and after consultation with other stakeholders, has announced an amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
Statutory Instrument No. 23 of 2023 addresses the appeal process for environmental clearance, per a statement from DOE, “to ensure that the public interest is taken into consideration in any decision that is made.
The regulations amended are retroactive, meaning they encompass the current appeal lodged by Waterloo Enterprises with regard to the proposed Port of Belize cargo and cruise ship expansion project. The National Environmental Appraisal Committee (NEAC) recommended against the latest iteration of the company’s environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and the Department turned down the project last December.
We understand that the appeal tribunal which consists of a representative for the Private Sector, an environmental expert appointed by the Minister, and a magistrate or judge can now allow for a replacement for the first-named person in cases of conflict of interest. It is alleged that putative representative Senator Kevin Herrera is in this case a relative of the local consultant tied to the project.
The DOE statement concludes, “This amendment is aimed at ensuring integrity, and fairness in the appeals process to avoid any potential conflict of interest, whether actual or perceived.”
The amendment of the Regulations can be found on the DOE website at www.doe.gov.bz or by requesting a copy via email at [email protected].
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