After Love News broke the news on Tuesday that some Seine Bight Villagers oppose the construction of a gas station in the village, today Stann Creek Correspondent Harry Arzu interviewed the village chairperson. Hipolito Novelo files the following report.
Some Seine Bight villagers say that the construction of this gas station poses a hazard to their health. They want the consultation to be put on pause until proper consultation is had but village chairperson Jose Aleman says consultations were had.
Jose Aleman, Chairperson, Seine Bight Village: “Based on consultation with the developers and the experts they brought to us that the different agencies have already done their inspections, those agencies are inclusive of the department of environment also the police and the fire department. However based on those inspections that were done the Department of the Environment had advised the developers to make consultations with the community. Due to the statutory instrument respect to the COVID19 pandemic the developers had invited the village council and other members from within the area to have a consultation with them.”
However, those in the area say there was not consultation. According to the Aleman, one of the main topics discussed was public safety- the village council’s greatest concern.
Jose Aleman, Chairperson, Seine Bight Village: “Environmental issues that having a gas station may cause. We further told the developers that there would be certain demands that the council would be requiring so that they could then go forth and meet it’s people. These meetings or we had four consultations from these meetings over a period of four to five months. The council wanted to know the different tests that were being done also what precautions were taken for this gas station to be done. A geotechnical report was done by the expert and presented to the council. That was yet not enough to carry to our people. We also demanded that an EIA was done so that we could understand this project.”
Aleman does concede that while consultations were hard, the method used may not have been the most effective.
Jose Aleman, Chairperson, Seine Bight Village: “I must say and it may be the case that the instrument or the methodology used for consultation may have not touched much people as expected. However when we weighed in on what we had received there were more for than against the project. “
Harry Arzu, Stann Creek Correspondent: Who were for the project ?
Jose Aleman, Chairperson, Seine Bight Village: “We’re talking about the residents of the community.”