Wednesday’s press briefing, hosted by Prime Minister Dean Barrow, lasted three hours and covered much ground. One of the issues which came up is the controversy surrounding SATIIM, drilling by US Capital and a decision by the Supreme Court which all parties are interpreting for their own purposes. We use the word controversy, but for the PM it isn’t even at that level. He says that where SATIIM is concerned there will be no discussions, end of story.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“There are court proceedings with respect to that, and as I understand the judgment of Madam Justice Arana SATIIM has no standing, you know. It is okay that they went there as an advocacy group but when the ruling said you need to do A, B, C or D with certain of the claimants it was made clear that that does not include SATIIM. So government is acting in a manner that’s perfectly consistent with the court ruling in saying that it will not treat with SATIIM on this issue. If the Alcaldes Association – I have met with some of the villagers – if the Toledo Alcaldes Association, recognized by law which appears to be a part of Miss Coc’s Maya Leaders Alliance, but if they wish to speak to me…in fact I have sent a message saying that I would wish to meet with them…I would be perfectly happy to sit down and talk about this thing. But don’t tell me that we must engage with SATIIM when SATIIM is an N.G.O. and can have no proper standing to say to government we are the ones with whom you must reach some sort of agreement. In any event, the matter is in court. Government maintains its position that it will comply with court decisions, but that of course we absolutely support the drilling for oil in the national park…which drilling has in principle been green-lighted by the courts so that hopefully oil might be found to benefit the entire Toledo District and indeed the larger country of Belize.”