Oceana Belize responds to PM on seismic testing issue

Oceana Belize responds to PM on seismic testing issue

Oceana Belize raised the alarm in November on a report that the Government of Belize was contemplating conducting seismic testing and offshore drilling in Belizean waters. It’s something that would reverse the moratorium enacted by the Barrow administration years ago. But Prime Minister John Briceño, in responding to the report, said to Oceana on December 2 that his administration continues to support a prohibition of offshore petroleum operations, which came into effect in 2017. The Government has also indicated that if it will change its position on this subject, it can only do so with the support of the public via a national referendum. Today, Oceana Belize’s Vice President, Janelle Chanona has responded to the PM. Her letter reads in part quote  “That your letter reaffirms support for the offshore oil moratorium and represents written assurance that its contents supersede the recent prior statements and references regarding offshore oil exploration are well received.” In response to the PM calling the organisation’s proposal for a referendum unnecessary, Senator Chanona has asked the PM for a meeting to discuss whether existing laws can be amended to include a referendum. She adds quote “I assure you that once such amendments are made to related and relevant Belizean laws, the continuation of our current signature drive would be unnecessary” Unquote. On Friday, the PM also said that no Ministry or Department, including the Ministries of the Blue Economy and the Natural Resources, has or proposes to authorize offshore seismic testing without alteration to the existing prohibition.

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