also from channel 5 :
D.O.E. investigating over 40 developments
Remember the story we aired back on January fifteenth where a portion of the Caribbean Sea a few miles northwest of San Pedro was surveyed and leased off for development? Well, News Five did a follow-up on that story today and found out that this particular case represents just one of over forty under investigation by various relevant government departments checking for their legitimacy and impact on the environment. Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, says they have assembled a team of experts from the various government departments including Fisheries, Petroleum, Lands, and Environment to assess the scope of the individual projects. So far, they’ve visited three sites.
Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer
“We started a few weeks ago in terms of gathering the information on bajos, shoals issues in order to conduct a rapid ecological assessments on these. However, it’s not as fast as we thought that such assessments would have been done. What happen is first we need the location of these bajos or shoals and we are awaiting information from the Lands Department who are the ones who issued these in terms of geographical location, ownership, purpose of leasing or privatizing; those kinds of things. The legalities of it rest more with the National Lands Act in terms of the Lands and Surveys Department, what they should and should not do. The way we look at things from the perspective of the Department of Environment is the ecological aspects of it and many other things.”
“The last one was totally… you could even see sea grass beds, which indicates that juvenile conch and those type of marine life, which indicates its ecologically sensitive from the perspective of nursery. On those ecological grounds development of these sites might not be possible from our recommendation. We have indications when we go out there of two other sites around the Ambergris Caye area, which one of them from what we know traveling everyday, I’m still dumbfounded of how that can happen to be the issuing these types of—but those are things that in my opinion I have to go there and assess.”
Alegria says the process is a tedious one and will take several more months to complete.http://www.channel5belize.com/index.php#a6