The Marine Multibeam and Sea Seep Survey project was received negatively by the conservation community and especially by residents of San Pedro Town. The negative feedback came after it was learnt that the Government of Belize had approved the survey without carrying out consultations. The project was cancelled and later brought back but this time, the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum, had a consultation scheduled. Days before that consultation, the Ministry announced that the consultation was also cancelled. Later, Vice President of Oceana was told that the entire project had been cancelled. The environmental community asked that it be put in writing and Chanona says that an official notice came last week.
Janelle Chanona – VP, Oceana Belize
“We did receive notice from the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Petroleum and Economic Development who advised us that the surveys were cancelled. So, we have that in writing now, but I think these kinds of events and the reaction we are getting is that people are saying yes, those ships left that threat is taken care of, but we want to be sure that we don’t always have to be keeping an eye out or trying to find out what is happening behind the scenes, that we don’t know about until the last minute as with what happened with seismic and multibeam last year was attempted to be; so I think these kinds of events really show that people want to be engaged they want to be involved, they want to be aware of what’s happening because they see the connections between their lives and these resources and they see what oil has already done to communities just like ours. The update is that we have written as the coalition, we want to meet with whomever will meet with us from the government we have also asked for a copy of the policy based moratorium, one of the letters that we got late in 2016 was saying the government intended to maintain a policy based moratorium that kind of flows that that would be a written document, something that we could read and review, we have yet to get a copy of that policy based moratorium so we have written again for that document.”
The Ministry did not give a reason why the survey was cancelled.