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Foreign organization claims to Turneffe Atoll is questionable

There is a website called TIME, an acronym for “This is My Earth,” claiming that its proprietors had bought five acres of land for conservation in Turneffe Atoll (VO). However, like they say the devil is in the details and it is the details that are raising red flags as to the authenticity of the website. Love news spoke to Valdemar Andrade, the Executive Director for the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, TASA, which co-manages the Turneffe Atoll who said that the information provided by the website is very vague and calls into question its legitimacy.

Valdemar Andrade – the Executive Director of TASA: “Well we haven’t been able to confirm whether that has been sold to an international organization. In a way we have been looking into this. This has been sent by several of our board members and several of our partners who we work with. The Turneffe Atoll Sustainability TASA is the official manger with the Government of Belize and the Fisheries Department. It mentions several things that are factual: one it mentioned that seascape was bought along with it, corals and different things and as far as I know that is not permitted under our legislation to buy any seascape. Also it mentioned that this acreage was brought to ensure that the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve or the Turneffe Atoll is officially legislative as a Marine Reserve and Turneffe has been legislated as a Marine Reserve since 2012.

Andrade added that his organization is checking with the Lands Department to see whether this was done and explained that there are conservation organizations that buy property for conservation from time to time.

Valdemar Andrade – the Executive Director of TASA: There are conservation organizations that buy land on behalf for example of a local NGO to put it into conservation and then there are agreements of how the management will be funded so it is concerned. There are conservation strategies that can employ buying land but generally the Government is involved, the co manager of the area is involved so that we are able then to put it into some kind of formal reserve system and officially recognize it as a private protection with some kind of encumberment on it to say that this area will be set aside for conservation because of the properties that the areas has so that can happen but as far as I know we had not been in any kind of negotiations to do any kind of actions of purchasing of land.”

The website claims that the acreage was being bought to ensure that it is officially legislated as a marine reserve, however, Turneffe Atoll has been a marine reserve since 2012.