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DPM Cordel Hyde says No to Vulcan

As you heard, it’s a “no” for Deputy Prime Minister Cordel Hyde who shared that last week he received a communication from the US Embassy, asking him to meet with representatives from Vulcan. Hyde explained that despite the embassy’s letter, the answer remains a “no” to Vulcan. 

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum & Mining: “We got communication from the US Embassy requesting a meeting with myself. I think that was last week but I did not avail them of a meeting. I think they met our CEO and Mining Director last week. We’re a sovereign and independent nation. We are supposed to be able to make decisions for ourselves or else what else has independence been about? 41 years into independence we should have the right, we should have the power to say to any company you know what? Your money is not good here. You know what? Thanks but it’s okay. We do not want that kind of investment. We are concerned about other issues and so you may want to move on to another country. We have that right. We’re an independent sovereign nation. If we can’t do that then we;re not. So I think we have the wherewithal and we have the independence and we have the sovereignty to stand up and make our own decisions where this is concerned. You’re dealing with giant companies. You’re dealing with multinationals that are used to getting their own way.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: What was the tone of that letter? Was it a suggestion for the meeting or a request for the meeting?

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum & Mining: “It was a request for the meeting. I think the letter pretty much was trying to sell the company and sell the project that, you know, this will be so beneficial to the country of Belize so it’s worth engaging and facilitating. I think something to that effect. I didn’t read it, all the granular detail and soak up every single thing about it other than to know that they wanted a meeting and they were hoping to have that meeting last Thursday or Friday.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: And the letter holds weight when it comes to the US Embassy? 

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum & Mining: “Well usually things from the US Embassy holds weight but just in this particular case it doesn’t.”

DPM Hyde went on to compare Vulcan to Lord Ashcroft, saying that the White Ridge Project will negatively impact the villagers of Gales Point Manatee and cause irreparable damage to the environment. 

Cordel Hyde, Minister of Natural Resources, Petroleum & Mining: “For me, this whole Vulcan situation kind of reminds me of Ashcroft. There are some people who are just too big for this country. George Price never entertained those kinds of persons because we’re a small country. We’re a peaceful haven. We’re blessed with a whole lot of things and we really should pick and choose who we want in our country and who we want to invest in our country. There are some very clear things when it comes to Vulcan. 1. The people of Gales Point Manatee, that Maroon community, are saying no to Vulcan. In the early goings they engaged with Vulcan but they got burnt and so now they are resolute in their no. Sometimes you have to lead from behind. The people of Gales Point Manatee are leading us in this instance. The second point is that the economic, the environmental damages that mining in that area will wrought is unthinkable. We’re talking about our animals. We’re talking about our marine life. We’re talking about our hicatee. Our manatee. Our turtles, our fisheries, our trees, our mountains that will never be the same. So why should we go down that road? For a few jobs here and a few nickels or a few dollars there? Whilst the multinational, the rich multinational will exploit our raw materials and ship that abroad? Export it abroad. You know what that sounds like to me? That smacks of slavery, of colonialsim. That’s the very same thing that the ancestors of the Gales Point Community fought against, escaped from slavery hundreds of years because they could not deal with that because they could not deal with that. They shunned that kind of thing. They shook off the shackles of slavery because they were tired of being used and abused,tired of being worked for free in inhumane conditions whilst the rch slave owners exploited and exported our rich raw materials so what we have here is that the present residents of Gales Point Manatee is honouring the memory of their ancestors by standing up to Vulcan and saying no. I think we have a duty and obligation and the rest of this country to stand with the people of Gales Point Manatee and say no to Vulcan.”