Doing away with perception of conflict of interest in EIA Process
- Government & PoliticsLands, Natural Resources & Environment
- March 10, 2023
- No Comment
And lastly, the Prime Minister was asked about the newly passed statutory instrument, which relates to the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations. Crucial changes were made to the appeals process, which developers can employ after a decision has been given by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee. The Minister of Sustainable Development can now convene a tribunal, comprised of three people: an environmental expert, whom the Minister appoints; a magistrate or judge; and the Senator, who represents the business community. With the new change, an alternative representative for the private sector can be appointed where issues of conflict of interest arise. That person is now Lucy Flemming, who takes the place of private sector Senator Kevin Herrera. The prime minister explained.
Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “We would never pick a fight with anyone. I mean it’s not in our interest. We want to work with the private sector. We want to be seen as a private sector friendly government. We want investments in Belize both local and international investments. We want to be able to develop and we can’t do it by ourselves it has to be with the private sector. With the issue of the Port of Belize or Waterloo as we said everybody has to follow the law and now that the EIA was rejected the next phase is that you can appeal and they have appealed and so we need to set up a tribunal. The point is that under the regulations it said that the private sector senator would be automatically a member of the tribunal kind of representing the private sector. Unfortunately in this instance and I’m not in any way casting any kind of aspersions to the Senator representing the business community he probably would have done a good job but the point is just the perception of there to be some kind of conflict. To avoid any kind of future lawsuits it would be better to address it now and try to do it properly. Now we picked I was just talking to Minister Habet about it and Lucy Fleming was I think the president of BTIA, the president of the Hotel Association so somebody that is well versed and well experienced in the tourism industry and also in issues about the environment and the same thing with the person the professor that they got I think he is out of Australia a person that has extensive experience worldwide with these issues including in the Caribbean I think he worked either ten or fifteen years in the Caribbean. They felt after consultations with a number of people felt that he would fit the profile of the person we’re looking to be able to be a part of the tribunal.”