UDP Mayor To GOB on Offshore Drilling: "Have Some Consideration!" "The Coalition to Save Our National Heritage" - that's the name of the group that wants a ban on offshore oil drilling in Belize. They've been getting support from a wide cross section of civil society but they got a major boost from the political establishment when the UDP Mayor Of San Pedro Elsa Paz came out in support of their cause. She gave the endorsement when the coalition spokespersons were on Reef Radio in San Pedro town this morning. And speaking to Janelle Chanona this afternoon in Belize City, she expanded on it:...
Elsa Paz, Mayor Of San Pedro
"First of all, I would like to say that myself and my council, we are totally against the oil drilling especially like right now we are seeing the problem with Mexico with the spill of oil there. I think this is a big concern to the whole country of Belize not only San Pedro but the whole coast of Belize and what impacts that will bring to our reef. I believe that government should have some kind of consideration before doing any decisions of this type. I have always said that both administrations don't have respect for local authorities like myself with my council because we are not informed of what is happening in our island. There are a lot of times that government will just compensate companies or individuals for land in San Pedro or whenever government gets into problems they will always pick San Pedro for a reason I don't know. They will always pick on San Pedro to give acres and acres of land for compensations and in a case like this for this approval of oil drilling and any environmental concern there is a lot of times that this private sectors or investors go all the way Belmopan to get these approvals. I believe as local authorities we should be informed and there should be public consultation or at least consult with the local authorities to see if we agree with the project before they go ahead and do any approvals."
"So how would you go about getting that respect that you think that the town council deserves?"
"Well I believe that government should work more closely to us to have a better communication. There are a lot of times that I have been in Belmopan especially with Minister of Natural Resources which is one of the biggest ministries and one of the ministries that has to do a lot with the island when it comes to forestry and all kind of environmental issues that are happening on the island. I believe that government should come together with us and try to work together with us because as I tell you this oil drilling, I heard it on the news, that's the way I found out about it."