GOB annoyed by SATIIM accusations

vlcsnap-2013-08-22-10h54m06s88Earlier this week the Sarstoon Temash Institute of Indigenous Management (SATIIM) fired off a press release offering further condemnation of the actions of police and representatives of U.S. Capital Energy in denying SATIIM representatives access into the Sarstoon Temash National Park last Friday. It maintains that the Government’s and U.S. Capital’s actions are illegal. On Thursday, the Ministry of Energy, Science and Public Utilities fired back, noting that the organization’s accusations are “erroneous” as it relates to oil concessions and permits on Maya customary lands. According to the Ministry, SATIIM is misinterpreting the Court of Appeal’s decision released in July, which they say refused to uphold the order issued by the then Chief Justice Conteh that required the Government of Belize to “abstain from issuing any concessions for resource exploitation, including concessions, permits or contracts authorizing logging, prospecting or exploration under the Forest Acts, Mines and Mineral Act, the Petroleum Act, or any other Act.” The Government insists that its actions are legal and buttressed in the Petroleum Act, which vests property in petroleum in the State, and the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution which does so again, along with other minerals. It calls on SATIIM “to fully ventilate and explain the significance of the Court of Appeal ruling to its stakeholders, particularly as it relates to the Government of Belize’s rights, under law, to issue concessions, licenses and permits for oil exploration in southern Belize. An explanation that is focused on facts will serve to educate all stakeholders and minimize the intentional rhetoric and sensationalism surrounding this national issue.”

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