APAMO elects new executive and takes position on the State Bank Project

APAMOThursday was the annual general meeting for the Association for Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO). Seats for four members on the executive including chairman went to a ballot. With the results here is executive director of APAMO, Jose Perez.

Jose Perez – Executive Director APAMO:

vlcsnap-2013-09-06-10h23m39s213vlcsnap-2013-09-06-10h27m04s207vlcsnap-2013-09-06-10h27m09s14Up to this point, the highlights of this year’s meeting, has been the election of the new executive council. We had four vacant positions within the executive council and we’ve elected a new chairperson, a treasurer, and two councilors. The Chairperson is Mr. Anthony Hislop, he’s the chairman of the Steadfast Community Orgnaization, the treasurer Mr. Gregory Choc from SATIIM who has been re-elected as treasurer, two counselors is Ms. Christina Garcia from Yakchek and also Mr. Marshal Alamina from Swallow Caye, who are two new members who have joined the executive council. Leaving the council is the past chairperson, Mr. Hilberto Robero from Programme for Belize and Mr. Raymond Reneau from the Rancho Dolores Environmental group.

New chairman Anthony Hislop replaces outgoing chairman Edilberto Romero of Programme for Belize. Also leaving is Raymond Reneau of the Rancho Dolores management group in charge of the Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. Mr Hislop spoke to PLUS News and says he had no idea he would be elected.

Anthony Hislop – Chairman of APAMO:

vlcsnap-2013-09-06-10h30m46s106I wanted to remain on the executive council.  I was a councilor.  The term is two years, and I hope to do my best within those two years.  We have a lot of advocacy work to do.  We need to get ourselves together deal with the threats and issues that are really challenging the protected areas at this point in time. We hope to get a better working relationship with the Government and who we see as the most pressure today protecting the areas.   We need to work together with them.  That’s the idea the new executive council has now.

 

Anthony Hislop says he wants to work with the authorities on major environmental issues.

Anthony Hislop – Chairman of APAMO:

The relationship [with Government] is not the best it should be, but we intend to get it better.

vlcsnap-2013-09-06-10h58m30s113Anthony Hislop also wants to repair the relationship with Minister Lisel Alamilla, whom APAMO recently called the “biggest threat to protected areas” because of her stance on oil prospecting.

Anthony Hislop – Chairman of APAMO:

I think she should be an asset to the conservation community.  I’m confident in the sense that I have worked with the Minister before. I don’t see why we should have any confrontation.  Challenges do exist, even between friends, but my idea is consultation before confrontation.

The meeting was still ongoing at the time we interviewed Mr Hislop and Mr Perez, and according to Jose Perez there are several issues on the table for discussion, among them the organization’s position on the Stake Bank project.

Jose Perez – Executive Director APAMO:

Our position cannot change in respect of not being in full support of a development of that size, fundamentally because it is infringing on the Wildlife sanctuary, is infringing on the protected areas.  Nevertheless, we are cognizant of the tendency of Government in respect to supporting these developments, in the name of socioeconomic development and the need for foreign exchange.  So the second item on this afternoon’s agenda is actually to look at that issue, and either reaffirm our resolution, our opposition, or formulate a new position.  There are several issues that we’ll be looking at this afternoon, with the General Assembly present we will be arriving at official positions on all these burning issues, including the development at Swallow Caye.

Likewise, APAMO shows solidarity with its treasurer and executive director of SATIIM, Gregory Ch’oc.

Jose Perez – Executive Director APAMO:

Our official position, as I speak, is still not to support any extractive use or infringement of a national park, in particular.  As far as we are concerned SATIIM is still a legitimate co-manager of the SarstoonTemash National Park.  SATIIM is one of our sister organizations and we’re in full support of their current positions.  As a matter of fact, that again will be discussed at this afternoon’s discussions, and we’ll be informing the public if our position remains the same, of if there’s some new position.

Jose Perez outlines future plans for the organization.

Jose Perez – Executive Director APAMO:

I think the election of a newly constituted executive council is timely, in that right now we are about to finalize our new five years strategic development plan.   This afternoon, two key items on the agenda is the revision and adoption of 2013-2018 Strategic Plan.  That plan has been in the process for the past two months, and I believe within that Strategic Plan the new approaches to advocacy, to lobbying Government, is spelt out there.  We’re looking forward in the next couple of days or weeks to be launching the Strategic Plan in a public event.  

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