Some residents of Seine Bight Village continue to show opposition against the location chosen for the construction of a Publics Gas Station, adjacent to the Publics Supermarket. It has been several months now since the protesters have been vocal on the issue, saying that it poses health risks. This morning, tensions rose when residents saw workers using heavy-duty equipment being used to install three underground fuel storage tanks. Some residents went as far as to try to prevent this from happening, subsequently leading to police officers had to be called to the scene. Despite the efforts by the protestors, the works continued. The residents, however, are not standing down. One of those residents is Arthur Williams who spoke to Love News via Zoom.
Arthur Williams, Seine Bight Resident: “This morning as I was passing by I saw a truck with equipment but the truck had some tanks on it. And the reason why I went out there because I was called by one of my brothers in the village who is also a concerned resident. Arriving there I told the guy that because of the advanced stage of the gas station I was of the belief that they are not keeping up to their promise because the minister had told the nation that the gas station would have been on halt and at that time I did a video where the stage was in it’s preliminary. Now what amazed me was now they’re putting down tanks so our attorney was supposed to come to Seine Bight who was supposed to put this project to halt so I wanted to confirm with my attorney so that we can get legal advice as to where we would have gone. Whilst speaking with the people they were agreeing but what made matters almost go out of hand was when the police came. The police came with an iron first claiming that they are protecting the law and in our view they’re not protecting the law or the best interest of us the people because we believe that what is happening is also a violation of the law. We’ve been disrespected and violated so we as citizens we stood up and explained to the police and the police came and they began pointing high powered rifles on women and children who were around and as customary Belizeans whenever they see that people start gathering around. But it was not a demonstration, it was just me trying to dialogue with the people them to await our attorney and the policemen came. Now I spoke with the regional commander and everything was under control because we are a people of peace, we are not a violent people and I didn’t go to speak with the people from Publics the reason why because our attorney just came but like what I mentioned earlier this is a legal issue and these people are not going to stop. They’re not going to stop. The government has violated us. The clearance for this gas station is a violation so the matter is for the court like I have always been mentioning.”
We also spoke to a shareholder of Publics Supermarket, Juan Carlos who says that the opposition to the construction of the gas station is coming from a handful of persons and not the majority of village residents. Carlos says that an estimated seven hundred thousand dollars is being invested to construct the station which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Juan Carlos, Shareholder of Publics Supermarket: “These people they started throwing bottles and stones. So we called the police, the police went over there and the police explained that that thing was wrong and finally we made the work. It is the same group of people that had been opposing. This is a group of ten persons but it’s not the majority of Seine Bight. The Minister Ferguson ran a survey and more than 85% are in favor of the gas station. So when the people say that the community of Seine Bight is not appropriate there are some people that are against the project but the majority is with the project.”
Reporter: Okay so the project will be continued and completed regardless of these ten persons you say are against the project ?
Juan Carlos, Shareholder of Publics Supermarket: “Yes that is our target.”
Reporter: How crucial is it for the company oir strategic for the company to build a gas station there in Seine Bight ?
Juan Carlos, Shareholder of Publics Supermarket: “We believe as an opportunity over there there is not that service and every village in the country and any country has that thing as a normal service the same way that you have supermarkets, you have your clinic, your have your pharmacy, any community with certain size has gas station. Belize has almost a hundred gas stations so we saw an opportunity and people went over there and the people have to go either to the end to Plancencia or before or so many miles before so we see this thing as an opportunity.”