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#475496 - 10/23/13 10:26 AM SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court
Marty Offline
In July, we told you about the decision which SATIIM and the Mayan Communities of the south made to take US Capital Energy to court to block the company from conducting oil exploration inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park.

Well, today before Justice Michelle Arana, that big court case started in for which members of the Mayan Community came down to listen to in person.

Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, who represents SATIIM and the communities made a 3-hour presentation to the court today, and afterwards, we asked him to outline his client's case.

Eamon Courtenay
"Our clients are the villagers and the leaders of the villages who are seeking in this case to have the court consider whether or not the activities that are purportedly authorized by the administrator of the Sarstoon Temash National Park can lawfully be done. In essence the villages on the outside of the Sarstoon Temash National Park just on the outside are saying that - that is their traditional lands that they have customary land titles to those lands and that it is unlawful for the government to give US Capital the right to go in and do drilling on their lands and especially to give permission to do that drilling without consultation and without their free prior and informed consent. Those are essentially the arguments that we put to the court and Mr. Barrow is going to reply tomorrow morning."

Daniel Ortiz
"What are your clients seeking ultimately should the court accept your submissions?"

Eamon Courtenay
"If our submissions are accepted the court is going to order that the permission granted to US Capital to go in is unlawful and it will strike down that permission. We are asking alternatively that there be an order that there be consultation, but that there be genuine consultation with our clients before drilling takes place in the National Park."

Greg Ch'oc, Executive Director - SATIIM
"We believe that it is fundamentality important to tie all of these rights formed by the court and international law that Belize has gratified to bring bearing on the government's issuant of development concession and one of them being oil development under the production sharing agreement."

Daniel Ortiz
"While your clients may have the moral authority, have they considered the financial expenditure which US Capital has invested in this particular project?"

Eamon Courtenay
"My clients have and the Petroleum Act itself says that a contractor will invest at his/her own risks. So the risk is as a matter of law on US Capital. Our clients stand ready to negotiate, to sit down to have discussions, constructive discussions not only about whether or not to go in, where to go in, how to go in, when to go in, what happens if oil is found, how do we minimize the impact and how do we share in the benefits. It's a whole range of discussions that would have to take place."

Tomorrow, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow will respond for the Government, and then US Capital's attorney, Michael Peyrefitte will also get an opportunity to present his client's position.

Channel 7


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#475722 - 10/26/13 11:36 AM Re: SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

PETROLEUM RIGHTS TRUMP LAND RIGHTS?

Justice Arana hears Maya challenge to GOB’s oil contract with US Capital

“They might as well just roll up that PSA and smoke it!” attorney for Maya tells Court

Hearings concluded today in yet another episode of litigation between the Government of Belize and the Maya of Toledo, who have launched a new suit against the Government of Belize in a claim which they maintain, is intended to vindicate their customary land rights affirmed by a trilogy of cases lodged before the Belize courts.

“We believe that it is fundamentally important to tie all of these rights affirmed by the court and international law that Belize has ratified to bring bearing on the Government’s issuance of development concessions—and one of them being oil development under the production sharing agreement [PSA],” Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director of the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM), the main affiant in the case, told the press when hearings began on Tuesday.

The Maya assert that the Government has given US Capital Energy the green light to drill on Maya ancestral lands and inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park—territory which they also consider ancestral lands—in a manner which violates their rights as landowners.

The Maya assert, furthermore, that no meaningful attempt was made by the Government to fulfill its obligation to gain their free, prior and informed consent before proceeding with granting the oil deals.

Eamon Courtenay, SC, attorney for the claimants, told the court that the Government has acted contemptuously against the cease and desist order that former Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh had issued in favor of the Maya. Whereas the Conteh decision was handed down on October 18, 2007, 11 days later, on October 29, 2007, the Government signed an amendment to the petroleum contract given to US Capital Energy—doing the same thing the order told them not to do.

Courtenay told Justice Arana that at the end of the day, what his clients are seeking is respect and understanding that they have rights too. He said that his clients are seeking, in this suit, to vindicate rights which have been recognized by the courts of Belize, such as the right to effective and genuine consultation.

The attorney told the court that on the face of it, the permit that Government issued to US Capital Energy, to drill inside the national park, is illegal.

“Under which section of the National Parks Systems Act is the second defendant [US Capital Energy] authorized to enter that national park?” Courtenay questioned.

He noted that a permit can only be given to enter the park to study flora and fauna inside.

“They are not interested in observing flora and fauna. They are bulldozing!” he told the court.

In arguing the Government’s position, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow told the court that given that petroleum ownership is vested exclusively in the Government, the Maya do not have the right or capacity to give consent to petroleum exploration.

“They do not have capacity to say, ‘We do not consent, so the permit is no good.’ The most they can do is to say, ‘You need our consent to enter upon our lands…’”, Barrow stated.

The judge observed: “the minister has power to override it…”

Justice Arana later noted that what the law boils down to—which really gives the minister the power to permit entry on to private property via an order, where the oil company and landowner can’t reach an agreement—is that they don’t need to consult with anyone.

Barrow added to this that, “…it would be nonsensical to have complete ownership to what is under surface and someone can prevent you from accessing what you have a right to. The law makes a sensible provision for it…”

He said that it would be, as a matter of common law, that the owner of that petroleum right would have a right to access the land.

Justice Arana questioned whether, in light of the fact that the existence of Maya land rights has been established by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, Government should have waited until the issue of demarcation is settled or whether perhaps Government should have compensated the Maya for the land in question.

Barrow replied, saying that the original oil contract dates back to 2001, even before the Maya land rights cases of 2007 and 2010 were filed, and that makes it extraordinary for them to be seeking to quash that contract now – in 2013. He added that time has long exceeded what judicial law permits for them to bring such a challenge before the court.

Barrow said that while the National Park Systems Act was made on January 2, 1982, the Petroleum Act was made in 1991. Whereas Courtenay had contended that the Petroleum Act is subject to the National Park Systems Act, which limits what can be done inside the national park, Barrow said that “that is fundamentally, vastly wrong…” since, in his view, “the basic principle is that a later act trumps an earlier act; and if the later act is inconsistent with [the] earlier act, it impliedly repeals the earlier act…”

For his part, though, Courtenay contended that no drilling can be allowed inside the national park—and that, he said, has nothing to do with who owns the oil.

“They might as well just roll up that PSA and smoke it!” the attorney for the Maya told the Court.

In his presentation, Senior Counsel Barrow conceded to the court that “there has to be room for consultation and accommodation.”

He said that Ch’oc makes it plain that there had been exchanges in the form of letters and meetings between the Government and the Toledo Maya. He said that one of the points which emerge is that the Government had offered the Maya 2% of the Government’s 5% portion of the oil profits it would receive from US Capital Energy—a proposal which the Maya had rejected, he told the court.

Barrow claimed that the Government had taken “prudent, considerate measures” to limit petroleum works to 10 kilometers away from the Maya villages in most instances—an assertion which the attorney for the Maya later refuted, saying that there is affidavit evidence indicating that the site locations clearly encroach on Maya ancestral lands.

As for Government’s claim that it has consulted the Maya, Courtenay said that this assertion is “scandalous!” He said that the consultations which take place within the context of the review of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) cannot satisfy the legal right to the Maya to be properly consulted, with the view of achieving their free, prior and informed consent.

He said that the Maya were given only 20 days to study an EIA document which was over 300 pages long. Furthermore, he noted, the Chief Environment Officer, who heads those consultations, does not have the jurisdiction to address the socio-economic concerns—such as the need for roads and other village infrastructure—which would be addressed in the context of the broader petroleum consultations with the Maya communities.

Courtenay said that it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure the demarcation of Maya lands, and if there is uncertainty about exactly which lands fall within the range of Maya ancestral lands, the court ought to, nonetheless, protect those subsisting rights.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had found violations against the Maya of Belize, despite the fact that no lands have yet been demarcated, he told the court.

Courtenay said that whereas Senior Counsel Barrow launched an attack on the fact that the lands have not yet been demarcated, the 2007 order by Chief Justice Conteh enjoined the Government of Belize to demarcate the lands in consultation with the Maya.

Michael Peyrefitte, attorney for US Capital Energy, rose after Barrow made his presentations, and told the court that there is no assertion in the claim that his client had done anything outside the permits granted by the Government of Belize. He said the case is really between the Maya and the Government, and he adopted the submissions made by Barrow.

He summarized the three main sources of dispute in this claim, heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday: (1) the Government’s decision to allow US Capital Energy to enter the national park for oil exploration; (2) the granting of the production sharing agreement to US Capital Energy; (3) permitting road works within the national park.

Barrow told the press, in explaining his case, that whereas there was evidence that was advanced which proves customary land rights in respect of these particular areas, the issue is not whether they have rights—the court has so declared—but exactly where these rights can be applied.

“It is for the claimants to prove where those rights exist, and no evidence has been advanced,” Barrow insisted.

Barrow had explained that provision was made in the permit to exclude a portion of the national park, due to Conteh’s decision on Conejo, which was never appealed.


He said that there may be a wide range of rights, some of which may be exclusive to the Maya, and some of which may allow uses by others. Included in those rights may be rights to go on lands for ceremonial, spiritual and religious purposes, or to traverse areas to collect leaves, cut cohune, hunt, fish, and so on.

He said that if rights of oil exploration are given (in this case to US Capital) where lesser rights are enjoyed, “Does the oil exploration infringe those rights; does oil exploration violate those rights?”

We asked Ch’oc whether there could ever be a win-win situation.

“I think there is always a win-win situation,” he replied, “that is what this struggle is about. I think that there is — in other circumstances there would not have been a need to come to court to get rights that are affirmed by the Constitution, to have the court vindicate those rights once more.”

Ch’oc confirmed indications to our newspaper that the village of Conejo has instructed its attorney to challenge the construction of a road for petroleum works through their village without their consent.

He said that Conejo has asked its attorney to move the process forward—a case in which they may pursue a claim for damages directly against US Capital for cutting 3 miles of seismic trails inside Conejo contrary to permit and Supreme Court order, Ch’oc said.

Amandala


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#488710 - 03/28/14 10:48 AM Re: SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Oil Company Lawyer: Maya Leaders Put Money Over All Else

And turning now from the Belmopan Magistrate's Court to the Supreme Court in Belize City, SATIIM today had an injunction hearing. As we've reported that Toledo Mayan group says that the oil company US Capital Energy has violated the spirit of an undertaking to the court, by getting ready to drill in the Sarstoon Temash National Park, when a pivotal judgment is pending. That judgment could assert Mayan Customary Land Rights over the exploration area and put a stop to US Capital's activities.

So today SATIIM went to the Supreme Court asking for an injunction to stop any further pre drilling activity. But, that request was set aside when Justice Michelle Arana told them that her judgement would be issued next week. So, with that, they agreed to hold off on the injunction. But, attorney for US Capital Michael Peyrefitte was not impressed. He said it's all just public relations engineering:...

Michael Peyrefitte, attorney for US Capital
"They have no issue with us drilling in the park. There is no environmental resistance you know to the company drilling in the park or the government issuing a license to drill in the park - they have no objections to that you know. They have no objection to say you can drill all you want, you can build a 7 kilometer road in the park - we don't care about that, what we care about is that if you find oil this is the amount of money we want. This is not about some caring about the national park. This is about what will be the percentage of the revenues that they will received. It would be foolish of any company to move into those communities to drill for oil and not communicate with the people, not talk to the people, not engage them, not hire them, not deal with them, not having respect for their traditions and their wishes. We do. That is not the issue. We came to court... listen to me Adele, with all due respect. If the media would do some real reporting and look at the affidavits, look at the claims, look at the timeline. The only time this matter was brought to court was when there was an issue as to what cut the Mayan leadership would get from this."

"They have done a great job of looking like they are such big time victims and they are not. They all speak great English although they pretend not to. They are all well-educated, well trained, well backed and when you talk to them, no matter what you talk to them about, it all comes down to their share of the pie."

"I guess I can respect the teachers, the teachers make no qualms about it "we want money, we want a raise." The Maya should be just as honest with the people of Belize and say their only issue with this case is their cut of the pie."

Greg Choq, Executive Director SATIIM
"Having said what he said, I want to clear here that everybody deserves to live in dignity. Everybody deserves their rights that are guaranteed by the constitution of this country. So, if asking for, or asking to ensure environmental justice is too much, if asking for respects of the rights of indigenous people is too much, if asking for respect for the rule of law is too much, if asking to ensure economic equality is too much then it speaks a lot of the mindset of those who lead this country because all of those that I just described are grounded in the constitution of this country."

But Peyrefitte says legality or illegality isn't the issue. He continued his very outspoken rant against the Mayan leadership - saying that this dispute is not about the law, or the environment, or even oil; he says it's about money:...

Michael Peyrefitte, attorney for US Capital
"If it is so important to you that the environment be preserved, if it is so important to you that such activities not take place, why do you keep abandoning your application for injunction? Why? If there is such imminent damage, if there is such imminent danger then you would want to press for that, but every time we come to court the question is okay if a decision can be heard by them then we don't need any injunction. That clearly indicates that there is nothing that is of any urgent need to address."

Greg Choq, Executive Director SATIIM
"We feel that Thursday, and it's one of the main issues why we adjourned the injunction last year because we want the substantive claim that we are positive that the Court of Appeal has upheld that those lands belong to the community, so we are confident that we will gain more grounds on the substantive claim. So we believe that it was important for us to move instead of the injunction. Injunction pretty much stops what they are doing. It doesn't really answer the question; are the activities that government is engaged in and US Capital is engaged in legal or illegal?"

Justice Arana will issue judgment next week Thursday.

Channel 7


SATIIM’s Greg Ch’oc responds to US Capital’s claim

According to Ch’oc, the injunction has been a secondary issue because SATIIM believes that it will gain more grounds on the primary matter which is its challenge against government to affirm the customary land rights held by the indigenous community.  He also took the liberty to respond to U.S. Capital’s claim that it is all about money.

Greg Ch’oc, Executive Director, SATIIM

“We were informed that the court will issue a ruling on Thursday, next week, on the substantive matters that got ventilated in the court last year October, twenty-second and twenty-third.  Having learned of that we adjourned the application for injunction that we filed until the date when the court will issue the ruling which is Thursday.”

Isani Cayetano

“There is a bold claim being made by the attorney for U.S. Capital that at the bottom of all of this it is about money, dollar and cents, in terms of what profit or what percentage the leadership of the Maya community would receive should U.S. Capital find oil in the Sarstoon-Temash.  Any response?”

Greg Ch’oc

Greg Ch’oc

“You know, it is too easy to simplify the struggle of the poorest sector of this country.  It’s too easy for anyone in high power to characterize and misjudge the principle and the foundation of this struggle of the communities.  But having said what he said, I want to clear here that everybody deserves to live in dignity.  Everybody deserves their rights, that is guaranteed by the constitution of this country to be affirmed and to be taken into account in any undertaking, whether it’s done by government, whether it is done by private sector or any individual.  No one should be denied those rights.  So, if asking for, or asking to ensure environmental justice is too much, if asking for respects of the rights of indigenous people is too much, if asking for respect for the rule of law is too much, if asking to ensure economic equality is too much then it speaks a lot of the mindset of those who lead this country because all of those that I just described are grounded in the constitution of this country and that’s what we have been fighting for.  We want to uphold and everyone to uphold the laws of this country and I think that we will not stop until we achieve those rights guaranteed by the constitution.”

Reporter

“Are you concerned that the court has deferred injunction issue for yet another week?  What are your thoughts?”

Greg Ch’oc

“Well we have maintained that what U.S. Capital Energy is undertaking in the park, they are doing it on their own risk.  These are live matters before the court.  So we feel that Thursday, and it’s one of the main issues why we adjourned the injunction last year because we want the substantive claim that we are positive that the Court of Appeal has upheld that those lands belong to the community, so we are confident that we will gain more grounds on the substantive claim.”

SATIIM is being represented by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay.

Channel 5


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#489011 - 04/04/14 10:50 AM Re: SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Mayans Claim Victory In Court, US Capital Clings To Status Quo On The Ground In September of last year, SATIIM took the entire media to the Toledo District on a tour of a small section of the Sarstoon Temash National Park to see first-hand the oil exploration that US Capital Energy was building inside the park.

As we showed you, the oil company built a road 10 meters into the park, where they a drilling platform was mounted for exploration. The organization along with the Buffer communities of the South argued that the company violated environmental laws set in place to protect the national park, and that there was also a violation of their customary land rights, affirmed by the courts in previous cases.

That case began before Justice Michelle Arana in October, and today, almost 6 months later, the decision was handed down. 7News was present when the decision was handed down, and also when the Mayan Communities held a 2-hour press conference to discuss it. Daniel Ortiz spoke to both sides and has this report:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Today, the Mayan communities along with SATIIM came out by the hundreds to hear the decision of the court for themselves as to whether or not the US Capital Energy will be stopped from drilling for oil near their communities, and in a small section of the Sarstoon Temash National Park.

The members of the community then moved over to the Radisson Hotel where it was standing room only, as their attorney explained the decision to them. But BOTH SIDES ARE claiming VICTORY.

Eamon Courtenay - Attorney for SATIIM & Buffer Communities
"The Judge made two declarations and she granted an order. The two declarations: the first is that the decision to give the permission to do the road construction and commercial oil drilling was irrational, unreasonable and it follows that it is unlawful. The second declaration was that the decision to allow the road building and commercial oil drilling was in breach on the legitimate expaction of the claimants based on their rights under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and international law and the cases that have already been decided in Belize. That is their right to free prior and inform consent to this type of activities. It consequently means that the decision is unlawful. Then the Judge ordered that the government engage the Maya people, the claimants in this case, in consultations and negotiations in respect of any license, permit or permission in the Sarstoon/Temash National Park."

Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney for US Capital Energy
"To be frank with you Daniel, I think what the judge has done is to cut the proverbial baby in half, but to be quite frank I think US Capital got the better half. I think Satiim should have read the judgment before calling a press conference and boasting about the judgment. The essential issue to this case is this and Greg Ch'oc mentioned it on TV the other night - should the court declare or strike down any of the permits or licenses issued to the second defendant US Capital, authorizing drilling for oil in the national park - that's the question. Belize as a nation can ill-afford to discourage investors and I bear in mind the affidavit evidence of Doctor Michael Tewes and Alistair King officials of the second defendant company as to the millions of dollars expended to date on this project and the irrecoverable amount of money that both Belize as a country and the second defendant company will lose if the project is discontinued. It is in this light that I will not strike down the permits or licenses. I mean as the late great VH Courtenay use to tell me when he read stuff to me "that is in English, isn't it?" I mean come on. The licenses and permits that US Capital has received from the government that form the basis of the central issue of this case are legal."

So, because Justice Arana didn't strike the permits down, there are 2 very different interpretations. The attorney for the claimants say that the court didn't have to go so far, yet the intent was clear that they ought not to be granted. The other attorney says they are free and clear because their permits remain intact. Which interpretation, then, is the correct one?

Eamon Courtenay - Attorney for SATIIM & Buffer Communities
"That permit has 27 days left on it. If US capital wishes to proceed to spend the money for the next 27 days - that is like the charge of the light brigade."

Michael Peyrefitte - Attorney for US Capital Energy
"Essentially in my view of the permits are not struck down the permits have been help up as legal by the court then I don't see why the company should do anything differently from what it was doing if the permit is deemed to be lawful by the judge today."

Once again these 2 entities find themselves in opposition, but at least they agree on one thing, that the case is challenging the Government's authority. US Capital says that they've broken no law and neither have they overstepped their permits they've been granted.

Eamon Courtenay
"It is the government's duty to pass legislation to provide a framework for the rights of the Maya people to be respected. She says that it is the duty of the government to enter negotiations with the indigenous people so that they can be compensated as of right despite the neo-colonialist garbage coming from the mouth of Mr. Peyrefitte."

Michael Peyrefitte
"If you look at their case, all the case that they have brought they have never said that US Capital has behave wrongly, they have never said that US Capital has done what it was not authorize or license to do. US Capital has always operated within the permits, within the licenses and within the permissions that it has been given. The only question was whether or not the government was legally obligated to give those permissions and permits to US Capital. But the case is not against us, the case was against the Government of Belize."

But though that is the core issue, the result is that the Mayan Communities believe that a situation has been created showing that a private interest is exploiting them and trampling their rights. Both sides agree that consultation is important, but can it take place given the present status of this project?

Eamon Courtenay
"The government was under an obligation to consult the Maya. What she says, she is exercising her discretion since so much time has passed in not quashing it. The point we make is that you have 27 days left, let us begin to talk now respecting the rights of the claimants."

Michael Peyrefitte
"If Satiim and the Maya leaders want to meet, we can always meet. If you want to come in a situation where it's almost like an extortion type approach then we won't accept that. Without apologies we won't accept that. We are not disrespecting anybody here, but if you have not invested millions and millions of dollars then how can you benefit from an investment you did not make. The Petroleum Act specifically states out what benefits you will get if you are deemed to be an owner of property - that's what the Mennonites received, that's what the Ushers received - that what's everybody receives. But the Mayas believe that they are entitled to some special status and therefore some special amount of money that is not provided in the law and that's the difficulty we have with Satiim. Like I said before they want to meet and discuss but they want the company to concede certain things before we even meet."

In the immediate future, the interpretation that US Capital has taken is that they can continue with their plans to drill. SATIIM and the Mayan Communities have warned the company in light of this judgment: drill at your own risk.

Eamon Courtenay
"Every day that they drill or they prepare to drill without free prior and informed consent is a violation of the right of the claimants in this case. It is a violation of their right. The court just exercised the discretion not to quash the permit, but she recognized that the decision to allow them to do it is a violation of their rights, so I say they do it at their own risk."

Alistair King - Country Representative, US Capital Energy
"As far as I know we will continue drilling, but I don't know what (I will have to be advised on that) - I don't think there is anything in there that says we have to stop work, so for right now, unless the lawyers tell me differently we will just continue."

Greg Ch'oc - Executive Director, SATIIM
"Satiim and the indigenous people are saying not here, not now, not this way. That's what we are asking the government of this country; not here, now, not this way. The indigenous people deserve respect, deserve consideration."

Justice Arana also awarded the cost of the litigation to the claimants, ordering that the defendants - in this case US Capital and the Government of Belize - must pay for it.

Another significant feature of today's press conference was Courtenay's denunciation of Peyrefitte's comments that the Mayan's wanted "a cut of the pie" that US Capital would get from the proposed oil drilling. Courtenay called it "neo-colonial garbage". When we asked Peyrefitte if he wanted to revise his position, he told us that he sticks by what he said, and he will not take back or apologize for what he says is the truth.

Channel 7


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#489528 - 04/16/14 11:03 AM Re: SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Mayan Communities Back To Court Against US Capital

SATIIM and the Leaders of the Mayan buffer communities have filed an application for an injunction against US Capital Energy to stop them from drilling inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park. They claim government gave the oil company an extension on their drilling permit last week, which is supposed to end on April 30.

SATIIM's statement from last week says that the Mayan Communities views this "extension" as a direct contravention of the judgment handed down on Thursday, April 3. That statement, said, "We condemn any decision by Cabinet that seeks to circumvent the declarations and order of Justice Arana."

It ended ominously by stating, "Should cabinet not rescind its decision we along with our communities will take all necessary action to block US Capital Energy from entering our Maya Customary Land."

But while they've taken that stance, 7News has been checking into their facts as they've presented them, and both the Chief Forestry Officer and the attorney for US Capital says that the Mayans are mistaken. There is no extension, and according to the Wilbur Sabido, the Chief Forestry Officer, there hasn't even been a discussion with the company about that extension. And in relation to the counter by Michael Peyrefitte, the attorney for US Capital, who said that SATIIM misrepresented the facts of that meeting where the oil company's representatives gave their interpretation of Arana Judgment, the organization says that it did no such thing.

A joint communique from all the communities says, "We want to state categorically that those who attended the meeting from our communities did so on their own behalf, and not on the behalf of our communities… We have confirmed among ourselves that none of us (leaders of the claimant villages) attended."

Channel 7


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#489981 - 04/26/14 11:22 AM Re: SATIIM Versus US Capital Underway in Supreme Court [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

GOB Waives Expiration On US Capital Exploration License

Hostilities remain high in the Toledo District between SATIIM and US Capital Energy. That's because government has informed SATIIM that it will waive the expiration date on the oil company's exploration permit. That was supposed to expire on April 30th, but now it has been rolled over with no fixed date of expiry. SATIIM says that's in defiance of the judgment of the Supreme Court - but government is sticking by its interpretation, that the judgment only affects future permits, not the existing one issued to US Capital. The Prime Minister explained today:..

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
"The Attorney General's advice that Madam Justice Arana's refusal to actually strike down the permits means that the activities can continue. So that is the stance of the government. Now I understand that a new application has been filed, is it Satiim, is it Maya Leader Alliance - with the claimants to try and get an injunction to stop the continuation of the activities. Unless that application succeeds, those activities will continue."

"We are indicating to the other side that we are waiving the expiration date of the permit - we are not renewing it because to renew it is final and we are waiving the expiration date to give us a chance to consult with the people. But we make the point that we do not and cannot concede what we consider under the judgment our right to allow US Capital Energy to continue with the activities that as a judge pointed out, activities that have already cost over 20 million US dollars and that in our view the judge mandated ought to continue."

Next week the Prime Minister will meet with the leaders of Sundaywood village which Government believes is the only community directly affected by the exploration. Sundaywood's leaders are believed to be sympathetic to US Capital energy. SATIIM maintains that all claimant communities, Conejo, Crique Carco, Graham Creek and Midway must be consulted in line with the Supreme Court ruling.

SATIIM has filed an application for an injunction to restrain the Government of Belize from extending US Capital Energy's permit to enter the Sarstoon Temash National Park.

Channel 7


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Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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