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#400289 - 02/15/11 03:19 PM BELIZEANS URGED TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN OIL DEBATE
Marty Offline

The Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage today launched its “Learn, Sign and Vote” campaign. The campaign is a national initiative aimed at getting the Belizean public involved in the national debate on oil exploration in particular on offshore drilling and oil exploration in protected areas. Love News spoke to Tanya Williams, Coalition Coordinator.

Tanya Williams – Coalition Coordinator

“There are three parts to the campaign. We have the learn part which is to get the information to people for them to make an informed decision. We want people to be aware so that when the petition form goes around people are signing knowing the information. The petition is calling for a referendum to decide whether or not we should have offshore drilling or drilling in protected areas. We have been given a three month period by the government to collect the signatures which is the learn and sign portion of our campaign. The next portion of our campaign which is the vote part of it is when people go to referendum. I think it should be three months after we have collected the signatures and that is why we are saying six months.”

Williams says that so far the response from the people has been encouraging.

 Tanya Williams – Coalition Coordinator

“It is excellent. The support has been excellent. I think people are excited about the opportunity for the first time as a people to get involved in the decision making particularly as it relates to our natural resources. So we have been seeing a great support from the public and we encourage more people to sign on to the petition form. We have a number who have signed already to the petition. What we have right now is a larger number of people going house to house so people can sign on. We are also doing special events where people can come and sign and we also have established areas where people can go and sign up.”

Throughout the next six months, the Coalition will be holding national community education programs, media campaigns and public events to increase the awareness on the issue. Those who wish to support the cause can sign the petitions at the offices of APAMO, the Belize Audubon Society, Oceana, Bacongo in Cayo, Chocolate in Caye Caulker, SATIIM in Punta Gorda, and BELPO in Belmopan.

LOVEFM


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#400308 - 02/15/11 03:44 PM Re: BELIZEANS URGED TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN OIL DEBATE [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Learn, Sign, Vote

The government has announced that it will wait three months before it considers re-issuing what is known as the OPIC offshore block, an area covering approximately 1.14 million acres, spanning from east of Belize City to eastern Placencia. OPIC is the Taiwanese National Oil Company, which gave it up in October.

Government is giving the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage three months to see if it can gather enough names to trigger a referendum on the matter of offshore drilling.

The organization - with membership of over 40 agencies - is launching a public awareness campaign - which you probably saw advertised in this newscast - and a recruitment drive to get voters to sign the petition for a referendum.

Coalition Coordinator Tanya Williams told us more:..

Tanya Williams, Coalition Coordinator
"The first one, Learn; we want to blanket the entire country with information. Provide information to people so they are aware of the issues regarding oil exploration and exploitation in Belize. We want people to understand economic, environmental, social and cultural impacts from this particular industry. The second portion is sign; we have a petition going around that is calling for a referendum and we want people to sign on to that petition and the third part is to vote in the referendum. it is very important that we as a people decide our future. We know that we need sustainable development, we need development of our country, so we need the economic background to do that, but we also have to decide what is it that we want to conserve; what do we want to protect because we know we need both of them. So for us that is the importance behind this entire referendum."

Monica Bodden
"Anything else you like to add?"

Tanya Williams, Coalition Coordinator
"I just want to encourage all Belizeans to sign on to the petition. You are not voting as yet. You are just signing and calling for a referendum."

The petitions are being circulated countrywide, and the coalition hosts special events and community education programmes to encourage participation….

Channel 7


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