Minister Lisel Alamilla speaks on environmental bills

By
Updated: June 28, 2015

Earlier in the week, executives of the Association of Protected Areas Managements Organization, APAMO, held a press conference in which they presented their concerns in regards to the Protected Areas System Bill. According to APAMO, while the bill will paved the way for several good practices and initiatives, they were not properly consulted and has several alarming that overweigh all the good. Today, at the Sitting of the House of Representatives in Belmopan, we saw several employees from several environmental NGOs. Present as well was the Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development, Lisel Alamilla, who responded to APAMO’s concerns.

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

“I think they are misinformed. There is always blue koncas as we say in kriol and so let us focus on what the bill has. The bill is a modernized bill on the management of Belize’s protected areas. It is repealing and replacing the National Parks Act and replacing it with the National Protected Areas act. It brings all the categories that appear under the IUCN categories. It allows people in certain areas to be able to enter protected areas and to harvest in a sustainable manner; resources that they were unable to access before and so I think there is a lot to celebrate there. I think there are mischief makers and like I said again, I am not going to be focused on that today. I am going to be focused on the fact that the bills recognize co-management which the NGOs have been clamoring for, for a long time. The bill recognizes privately protected areas, the bill recognizes corridors and I can go on and on what the bill recognizes.”

Reporter

“If you say they are misinformed then isn’t the onus of your ministry to inform them?

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

“I will not let you digress and lead me, digress me from what it is we are here to celebrate. We are here to celebrate the tabling of two very important bills and that is what we’re here to do. Speak to the NGOs here, why are they here today? It is because it is a historic day in the preservation and in the management of Belize’s natural wealth and in the long term sustainable use of our resources.

Reporter

“Ma’am, not to in your words digress, you but there are good things in these bills. Even the NGOs we have spoken to have said it but there are also concerns, so why is there this hurry to push them through now instead of trying to get wider consultations?

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

“Ten years of consultation is hurrying a process?”

Reporter

“There are concerns, there are real concerns.”

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

“Ten years of consultation and we’re hurrying a process? Let’s get real, we have archives and archives of hours and hours and millions of dollars of consultations carried out, the result of these two bills.”

Reporter

But what they are asking. What would be the problem in meeting with them and trying to…

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

“We are not going to continue with that conversation. I am here to celebrate that we are tabling these two bills and there’s lots to celebrate on those two bills. I have been a part of this, I have the institutional knowledge. I have been a part of this from the get go.

Reporter

But a lot of the people who are protesting this have more institutional knowledge.

Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Fisheries, Forestry and Sustainable Development

 

“They don’t. They don’t have more institutional knowledge than I do.”

 

According to Alamilla, representatives from environmental NGOs such as the CSFI, WildTracks, TIDE and Yaxche Conservation Trust were present for the passing of the bill. This evening APAMO sent out a release in which is clarified that quote, “APAMO’s concerns are based on the premise that the proposed Bill can further be improved and this can only be accomplished with involvement of partners like APAMO whose commitment to safeguarding Belize’s natural heritage is unquestionable”, end of quote.