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#398889 - 01/29/11 12:36 PM Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,822
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession over Maya Mountains

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s the general feeling environmentalists have tonight as on the heels of one victory, they suffer a major blow to their anti-drilling campaign. Earlier in the week we reported that the Taiwanese State owned oil Company, OPIC, gave up its rights to the second largest exploratory concession for oil that covered the Belize Barrier Reef. But as soon as that was announced, it is revealed that another concession that covers a large track of the western portion of the country, including the Maya Mountains has been handed over to Alfredo Acosta and Kimano Barrow. Kimano is the nephew of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and he is also the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Belize. While there is no record of Kimano’s expertise in the oil industry, the company with the concession, Paradise Energy Limited, was formed less than a year ago on February twenty-fourth, 2010. This has N.G.O.’s like Oceana, piping mad.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, VP, Oceana Belize

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“Paradise energy is fifty percent owned by Kimano Barrow, who is the nephew of the Prime Minister, and he could have a business like anyone else, but the problem comes now when we find that once again the government has given out another oil concession. This one is onshore, but it’s another oil concession not using the competitive bidding process and that is the very…the problem is we cannot continue to abuse the law as it stands. Yes section 13 of the legislation provides for any minister to decide that I am going to go to cabinet to approve a contract. But subsection one and two first says that you should have competitive bidding—that is an exception you should use. We have made the exception the rule and that is a problem. So when we see news like this that again another concession, it doesn’t matter whose behind it you know, what matters is it goes again to the very essence of the problem we are having. How can the government be saying that we have a well regulated industry and the Belizean people are to have confidence in it, but yet we find out about contracts long after the fact. Since 2010, October, this new contract was given out—imagine three months later—after the fact we actually get some form of confirmation that yes a new contract has been given out and where? In the Maya Mountain. It is just incredible.”

Kimano Barrow

Jose Sanchez

“Now in regards to oil contracts or concessions, there are certain requirements in terms of experience in oil.”

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“Yes and this contract again, because we know who are the players in it—Mister Alfredo Acosta and Mister Kimano Barrow. I mean Belize is small, we don’t know them to be any oil experts to have any kind of expertise and yet they have this contract. But I think what is more alarming is that the petroleum act, section 11 is very clear as to who can get a contract. It says a contract shall only be entered into with persons who demonstrate a proven ability to contribute the necessary funds, assets, machinery, equipment, tools and technical expertise necessary for the effective performance of any contract. And a petroleum contract, you have to have that oil expertise, petroleum expertise. Imagine, OPIC just left and they were the ones if you just go on the internet, just goggle their name, you know that they are in the oil industry. Go and google Paradise Energy and you will see it’s recently that was established in Belize and obviously its purpose is—I can’t even say exploration of oil; [it’s] exploitation of this country.”

Channel 5

#399296 - 02/02/11 09:44 AM Re: Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,822
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
It’s not all rocky mountain!

The petroleum concession which the Barrow administration gave in 2010 to Paradise Energy Limited, a company owned by Kimano Barrow and Alfredo Acosta, does not just encompass Belize’s major onshore protected areas such as the Columbia River Forest Reserve, the Bladen Nature Reserve and the Chiquibul National Park, but also the heart of the Stann Creek Valley, where one of the leading pillars of the economy—citrus—now thrives.

The composite map which Amandala has created demonstrates that, included in the concession area—the largest onshore acreage given to any petroleum company—are the villages of Pomona, Silk Grass, and Middlesex in Stann Creek, right to the east of Dangriga.

This is the heart of the citrus valley, a portion of which has been declared by the partners of Princess Petroleum to have potential for petroleum—contrary to declarations by government officials.

Radar scans published at show this. We superimposed one area of interest on our composite map to demonstrate the point.

We also note that lying right along the border of the concession area are Benque Viejo del Carmen and San Antonio in the Cayo District, and Indian Creek and San Pablo in the Toledo District.

Whereas much of the contract area is rugged, rocky, uninhabited terrain, a sizeable portion of it is not.

The concession area is also adjacent to those of Miles Tropical Energy, Princess Petroleum (Onshore), and BCH/ZMT International Inc.

When Amandala queried why Princess had been doing satellite imagery for areas not included in its plot, the reply we got was that it is customary as a part of the overall exploratory study to understand the physical features of the concession area and its general potential.

[Linked Image]

#399979 - 02/10/11 10:12 AM Re: Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,822
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

P.M. defends drilling concession to nephew

The Prime Minister was drilled on a number of issues, including the recent oil exploration concession given to his nephew Kimano Barrow. Environmentalists have sounded the alarm about Kimano’s lack of knowhow in the oil industry and are concerned that there was no bidding process for the concession issued in the large parcel of land that covers national parks. The P.M. defended the concession and indicated that there were no special favors done for his nephew. He said that the bidding process can be bypassed and that the concession can be approved by Cabinet.

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“I do not accept that Mister Cho would feel that there is some presumption in favor of giving a contract because somebody with my family name is a shareholder in the applicant company; that’s number one. Number 2, Mister Cho apart, anybody in cabinet or in the government who knows me will know that somebody making an application for permit with my family name if it is left to be would be under an impediment rather than the beneficiary of an advantage because I make it absolutely clear that I will not have my name, my integrity, besmirched in anyway. The locals in the company no doubt have partnered with foreigners so to say that these locals don’t have the financing or the expertise, man doesn’t make sense. Nobody in this country has the expertise. My nephew is a shareholder, the minister, Mister Cho, anybody in the petroleum department will tell you, not one day did ever call the minister, or any of his officials to say you know what, there is an application for P.S.A. that a family member of mine is involved in. I don’t do that sort of thing and not a soul in this room can ever suggest that I do because if they didn’t they’ll be lying. I no play! [applause] I had no knowledge of that company approaching the ministry. The ministry dealt with that on an arm’s length basis. When the minister brought it to cabinet he said, “Well you know, the experts, the technical people, Mister Cho in particular; had advised him to approve the application because it was in an area where nobody else wanted.”

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7

“Was any, on the A point under that, the fourteen conservation areas within that block, seven core conservation areas, was any thought…”

Dean Barrow

“I don’t know. That you would have to ask the minister and Mister Cho. When the matter came to cabinet nobody was told this is an area that had, what you called it, fourteen conservation areas. I was not aware; in fact i am just being made aware of that today. Obviously that fact must have been taken well on board by Mister Cho and the minister. Cabinet wasn’t, as I said, treated to that information, but Cabinet had a right to assume as I’m sure it did, that all the factors in the mix were properly taken into account, properly analyzed, properly assessed, properly scrutinized by the experts at the petroleum department. Nobody else wanted it. Paradise applied, obviously was able to convince the minister and his experts that they had the wherewithal to make a go of this thing in terms of the exploration process. He brought it to cabinet, cabinet approved it, end of story; there is not a damned thing—it was made public because the cabinet press release went out—there is not a damn thing wrong with that process. And that is a position by which I stand.”

Jose Sanchez

Jose Sanchez

“Fair enough.”

Dean Barrow

“Thank you. You’re kind. You’re kind.”

Jose Sanchez

“I think the question does need to be answered at this point is that they are all questioning whether or not cabinet should have not looseness, but the leeway to continue in that. But that was the concern of environmentalists.”

Dean Barrow

“Well as I say Jose, if Misses Matura Shepherd and the others want to lobby for some change in the law they are free to do so man. Hasn’t this government shown that it is perfectly prepared to take people’s views on board? At first blush, there would be something impractical about requiring this bidding process for every single concession that government were to award, but let us talk about it. If we can be convinced that that is the way it ought to be, then we change the legislation.”

Channel 5

#400004 - 02/10/11 01:45 PM Re: Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 603
Mike Campbell Offline
Mike Campbell  Offline
The question is the appropriateness of granting any concessions at all in protected areas. After reading Mr. Cho's statements about oil exploration in Belize I have come to the conclusion that he is either not competent or deliberately misrepresents the viability of oil exploration in Belize to please his superiors. We are already depleting our oil reserves and I find it very short sighted to plan our economy around making a large oil find. We need to seriously develop our other sectors with their needs taking precedent over those of the oil exploration advocates. If we find in a non sensitive area thats great but if the exploration for or removal of petroleum interferes with our other keystone industries such as tourism and agriculture it must be stopped. It should be obvious that oil reserves will be depleted to zero while the other industries have potential for exponential growth. It should not be a difficult decision.

#400110 - 02/11/11 08:04 PM Re: Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 153
chris45 Offline
chris45  Offline
No it should not be a difficult decision. What I ask does the word "protected'mean as in "protected area" ?
Is not oil drilling one of the prime things we are protecting areas from?
I am sure no one has forgotten the mess made by the Canadian company in Bladen forest who were actually given permission to look for hydro dam possibilities.
YES YES YES we should be thinking of agriculture. That is the driver of our economy in the future.
As we have all seen, tourism is a very unreliable source of revenue. It is an early casualty of a declining world economy.

People can live without visits to Mayan ruins, diving reefs, and chasing permit on the flats. They cannot live without food.
The squeeze on world food resources is already with us and is going to intensify.
Belize is lucky. We have good land and water. Some countries have neither.
The future is in our hands

#401141 - 02/26/11 10:15 AM Re: Prime Minister’s nephew gets oil concession [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,822
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

New details revealed about oil concession to Paradise Energy Limited

The latest contract to surface for oil exploration in Belize was given to Kimano Barrow, the nephew of the Prime Minister Dean Barrow along with Alfredo Acosta as owners of the Paradise Energy Limited. The contract came to light recently and triggered uproar because of the huge area involved, which includes the Maya Mountains and the Chiquibul Forest. Today the Vice President of Oceana Belize, Audrey Matura Shepherd, provided News Five with fresh information on the contract. It was signed by the Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega, and came into existence just after Oceana was established in Belize.

Audrey Matura Shepherd, V.P., Oceana

Audrey Matura Shepherd

“This contract, Paradise contract which is owned by Mister Kimano Barrow and Mister Freddy Acosta is date the twenty-first of June 2010. The oalition to save our natural heritage was established on June eighth 2010. After we established that coalition, twelve days after, this contract was signed. So obviously they didn’t think our voice mattered. All along from then ‘til early this year, we’ve been doing presentations and discussing the different contracts and saying the different areas that have been given out. We’ve heard a lot of shows with different members of government; especially from the petroleum and geology department and not one of them has said you know what, the one information we need to correct for Oceana and the coalition or anyone speaking on the issue is that unlike what they think, the Maya Mountain has been given out since June twenty-first. To me that shows a lot of bad faith. I won’t even go into all the details of the contract; I’m still reading through it.”

It is now reported that soon after the contract to Paradise Energy was exposed, other persons appeared as majority owners; Oren F. Miles I and II, Allen Saum and Erubiel Ku and are believed to be the front men for Barrow and Acosta, which, if true, would not be surprising since the Prime Minister hinted at his last press conference, that other investors could be involved.

Channel 5

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