Did negligence on the part of the Ministry of Works and the Department of Environment lead to the death of Canadian Ronald Sutherland? Sutherland was killed in an explosion last week at a quarry in Santa Elena Town. The Environmental Compliance Plan, ECP identifies the Ministry of Works as the developer and the terms and conditions entered with the Department of Environment states that the ECP is quote “binding upon the Ministry of Works, its servant, agents and/or assigns.” End of quote. The matter is being investigated by the Department of the Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Works, the Mining Unit and the Belize Police Department. The question now arises; should these government departments be investigating themselves? The document is 17 pages long, and on page 6 under the title “Earth Movement Activities” section 3.3 speaks of best management practices that the developer and engineering standards should employ during earthmoving operations. The documents state that the Ministry of Works must obtain appropriate licenses/permits from the Mining Unit to operate quarries or burrow areas. Last week it was reported that the Inspector of Mines from the Mining Unit, Michelle Alvarez confirmed that no license was granted to conduct earth removal blast like activity in the area. This would suggest that Belize Roadway Construction which was contracted to carry out the road works and which contracted Tiger Aggregates to do the blast may have committed an offence for illegal mining. Furthermore, the ECP orders that the Developer must ensure that sites meet the general site criteria recommended in the study and shall not be located in the vicinity of settlement areas, cultural sites, wetlands or any other valued ecosystem component. This stipulation was violated when it comes to the Santa Cruz quarry site. Legal action can be taken against the Developer, in this case, the Ministry of Works. Page two of the ECP states that quote, “any material breach of any of the terms and conditions of this compliance plan which has been brought to the attention of the Developer and which has not been rectified within a reasonable time may result in the revocation of the environmental clearance for this project and or legal action taken against the Developer”.