Environmental fund being depleted by non-environmental projects
The Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) has written a very distressing letter to the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding what can only be seen as alleged misuse of the Protected Areas Trust Fund (PACT). APAMO’s Chairman, Edilberto Romero, complains that instead of being used to finance and preserve protected areas, PACT funds are being redirected to the multi-layered program and sometimes recording label known as Restore Belize. Romero points to four grants totaling two hundred and fifty thousand dollars that were given out on October sixth in which one hundred thousand dollars were set aside for Restore Belize’s high school scholarships and school trips for Belize City students to protected areas. Romero also points to how the limited funds are depreciating even more because a of a Tourism Development Fund for the Belize City Council which has been afforded close to five hundred thousand dollars annually over the last three years. The letter suggests that all combined with PACT’s high administration cost, at least one million dollars or forty to fifty percent of the funds available for protected areas management are being lost. The letter goes on to urge the government to find other means of funding social programs that don’t jeopardize the management of protected areas.