fbpx
Belize Weather: Drying out
October 29, 2023
Foreign Minister issues latest statement of support for Palestine in Israel-Hamas war
October 29, 2023

Referendum Act now includes provision for mandatory referendum on amendment to moratorium

Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2023. 12:15 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Government of Belize and OCEANA Belize have reached agreement on the procedure for any change of heart concerning the Petroleum Operations Maritime Zone Moratorium Act.

The government had promised that if it ever changed its position on offshore oil exploration, it would go to the public in a referendum first. Following its learning of intentions by the Government to allow seismic testing offshore to determine what petroleum deposits there were in Belizean waters, OCEANA mounted a signature drive to petition for a referendum on such a decision. With the threshold met earlier this year, the Government sought legal advice, and from that came the agreement.

Thus both Houses of Parliament approved an amendment to the Referendum so that it makes a referendum mandatory before any proposed amendment or repeal of the Petroleum Operations Maritime Zone Moratorium Act. Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher introduced the bill for that amendment at the recent meeting of the House of Representatives to unanimous approval.

Usher described the amendments: “Madam Speaker, two sections of the Referendum Act, Chapter 10, are being proposed for amendment to expand when a referendum should be held: one, on any proposed amendment or repeal, whether expressed or implied, of the Petroleum Operations Maritime Zone Moratorium Act; and two, on any proposed legislation affecting the carrying on of petroleum operations within the limits of the Maritime Zone of Belize.” He continued that at present Government had no intention of touching the Act; that there would be “meaningful consultation” on the matter of petroleum exploration in the maritime zone and that both sides would be mutually engaged on marine conservation challenges and collaborative action; and that the people’s voices would be heard; there’s a commitment to dialogue and meaningful working relationship to protect and sustainably manage Belize’s maritime conservation environment; and finally, the Government conveyed its thanks to the estimated 22,090 Belizeans who signed the petition. “Please be assured that your message was heard loud and clear,” he said.

In the Senate, vice-president of OCEANA and non-governmental organizations Senator Janelle Chanona, added her thoughts: “…these amendments are validation that the people of Belize want to have a conversation about offshore oil and anything that would happen in the future there and want to participate fully in that… I am happy that it was heard, the message received and it has been respected. That is a sign of leadership and we will do our part to ensure that it is promoted as an example for others to follow and truly setting precedents in [an appropriate way]. So in recognizing those people I also want to fully acknowledge that some people are not happy that we are not going to a vote right now and I want to recognize and acknowledge it, but also to highlight that the amendments before the Senate today is a commitment that a vote will happen.”

Attorney General Anthony Sylvestre represented the Government of Belize and counsel Jacqueline Marshalleck represented Oceana in Belize during the negotiations.

 

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Belize ~ We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages. Your content is delivered instantly to thousands of users in Belize and abroad! Contact us at mаrkеtіng@brеаkіngbеlіzеnеwѕ.соm or call us at 501-601-0315.

 

© 2023, BreakingBelizeNews.com. Content is copyrighted and requires written permission for reprinting in online or print media. Theft of content without permission/payment is punishable by law.

Comments

  • Galen University
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • larry waight
  • Belmopan Aggregates
  • cahal pech village resort
  • Galen University
  • Shindaiwa
  • Belmopan Aggregates