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Government Ministers Meet with Seine Bight Residents over Rejection of Gas Station Construction in the Village

Minister of Public Utilities and Logistics Rodwell Ferguson and Minister of Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs Dolores Balderamos-Garcia were in Siene Bight Village this morning. The purpose of their visit was to meet with village residents regarding the construction of a new gas station in the village. According to Balderamos Garcia, while majority of the villagers support the project, strong voices are against it.

Hon.Dolores Balederamos Garica, Minister of Human Development: “Now clearly I cannot take sides in terms of what the community’s wishes are because as a government and as I said it before we have to try to balance competing interests. So I was obliged to advise some of the naysayers if I could put it that way, I was obliged to tell them you would have to seek your legal advice. Now what we will do though as a government is to ask for a delay on the project so that we can investigate if all the proper permits and permissions were given because if something was not done in the correct way then of course we have to correct it. But we have to see what will be the result of the community’s wishes. Our understanding is that the majority of the community are in favor of the gas station. Very loud voices were brought to the table today about those -“

Harry Arzu, Stann Creek Correspondent: In favor you say ?

Hon.Dolores Balederamos Garica, Minister of Human Development: “Well our understanding is that the majority of the community are in favor but loud voices were brought to the table this morning of those who are against the project. Now it will be a matter for the community in terms of the wish of the community. However please let me point out this is just not a simple vote if a developer has gone through all the proper processes in terms of your permits for fire, the environmental impact and all of that in this country we don’t have the zoning laws and so that is one of the challenges that we experience. I also was careful to say that as Minister for Indigenous People’s Affairs I want to show the interest and to sit down and listen to people. It does not mean that myself or the government will always agree with what is coming from the community but we do want to give the assurance to the Belizean people that we’re serious about development.”