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Dr. Candy Gonzalez

On behalf of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, the Oceana in Belize Family tearfully acknowledges the passing of fierce environmental advocate Dr. Candy Gonzalez. Her organization, the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO) and OCEANA founded the Coalition - an alliance of many organizations that aims to protect our people and our rights to safeguard our natural heritage for the benefit of all Belizeans – present and future.

Our team remembers fondly, our road trips together where Candy shared her experiences on the front lines of the civil rights movement in the United States, with us.

While her list of contributions to Belize are long, to us, one of the key documents that stand out is the Guide to Public Participation which BELPO produced and had translated into several different languages. It highlights the importance of Belizeans’ being involved in every aspect of decision making of our precious marine and terrestrial resources.

We offer our sincere condolences to her husband, George, her family and friends. May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory.



It is with deep sadness that the Belize Network of NGOs announces the passing of passionate environmental advocate, Dr. Candy Gonzalez. As an attorney and advocate, Dr. Gonzalez was a force to be reckoned with. Her colleagues in Belize and abroad will always remember Candy as a driving presence of a number of organizations including the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO), the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, and the Belize Alliance of Conservation NGOs (BACONGO). Candy's dedication and relentless work has helped to conserve the health and integrity of Belize’s natural resources for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones at this difficult time, especially her constant companion and caregiver, her beloved husband George. May her soul Rest In Peace and rise in glory.

A few notes of condolences from BNN members:

"A life story full of fight and passion. May her soul Rest In Peace. Continued prayers to her beloved husband George and her family. -- Janelle Chanona, Oceana Belize

"Condolences . May she Rest In Peace." -- Deanna Gomez, YWCA - Belize

"Rest In Peace Candy. I pray for her family's strength and peace during this difficult time." -- Arreini Palacio, Southern Environmental Association

"She will be missed. She made me read EIA reports on the Dam and drilled me on it." -- Nefretery Nancy Marin, Nancy Marin Youth Foundation.

"I remember her as a passionate conservationist who surely did her fair share in Belize. May she Rest In Peace." -- Celia Mahung, Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE)

"Sincerest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. I had the distinct privilege to interact with her thru BNN. We were looking forward to meeting in person after COVID-19. May her soul rest in peace." -- Sharmayne Saunders, Haven House Belize

"Sincere condolences. She will always be remembered for her passion towards conservation. She will be missed." -- Christina Garcia, Ya'axché Conservation Trust

"Prayerful Sharings for a rest, full of God's grace, merciful kindness and infinite rewards. Eternal rest grant unto her, and may perpetual light shine upon her. -- Abel Vargas, Hand In Hand Belize

"I am sad. Belize has lost a warrior! She had a vision beyond today's. Rest in peace Candy. Condolences to George and family." -- Froyla Tzalam, Sarstoon Temash Satiim

"Candy was a leader and a wonderful advocate for environmental justice. She left us far too early and my thoughts are with you, George." -- Craig Hayes, Turneffe Atoll Trust

"Condolences to her family. May her soul RIP and rise in Glory. She will be sadly missed but her memory and what she stood for will live on." -- Sandra Miranda, National Garifuna Council

"Condolences. May she rest in peace." -- Valdemar Andrade, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association

"Really sad news. Candy was a giant in environmental conservation and advocacy and she should always be remembered that way." -- Osmany Salas, BNN

"Thanks for this brief eulogy of Dr Candy Gonzalez. May her soul rest in peace." -- Evan George Dakers, HelpAge Belize


Environmental Advocate Passes Away

The environmental community is without one of its member tonight. Doctor Candy Gonzalez passed away over the weekend. Gonzalez was the founder of the Belize Institute of Environmental Law and Policy (BELPO), and one of the co-founders of the Belize Coalition to Save our Natural Heritage. She is remembered as an outspoken advocate for the Macal River and over the years she led sustained research and advocacy against dams. Today, we spoke with Senator Osmany Salas who tells us more about Gonzalez’s contributions to the conservation and N.G.O. communities.

On the Phone: Senator Osmany Salas, Belize Network of NGOs.

“Dr. Candy Gonzalez, I would call her an environmental warrior. She was very passionate about her work in environmental conservation and advocacy. She was completely committed and accomplished a great deal during her life time. She will be missed. For example, she founded and led several N.G.O.s included BELPO. She was a driving force behind BACONGO for many years. And through her organization she was a driving force behind the Coalition to save our natural heritage – a group of N.G.O.s that successfully achieved the indefinite moratorium on offshore oil exploration. So, that is another one of the many accomplishments that could be credited to her in large part. I must also say that she was one of the founding members of the Belize Network of N.G.O.s that was founded over three years ago to elect the N.G.O. senator and after that the BNN became a coalition of N.G.O.s that has been working at strengthening the N.G.O.s and Dr. Gonzalez was one of the original members of that network. She did accomplish a lot and she cared a great deal about the health of the Macal River, hence her advocacy against dams. She did a lot of research to show what the health and human impacts of dams would be. She kept to it and she was very principled. She never wavered from her principles. The good thing with Dr. Gonzalez is that she left a lot of her work documented. For example, she helped to put together a guide to public participation which will be a useful tool for generations to come here in Belize. A document, a report that provides some guidance how to do effective public participation and to a great extent that was triggered by the environmental impact assessment – a requirement that when environmental impact assessments are done, it is critical that there is extensive, meaningful and comprehensive public consultation. Not consultation for the sake of it, not in name alone but meaningful. So, that guide to effective public participation is one example how Dr. Candy Gonzalez, although she will be greatly missed, she left her mark; she left her imprint and so her contributions will be felt for generations to come.”

Doctor Candy Gonzalez was also an attorney-at-law.

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